Reading Oasis Library opens at Brookside

Published 9:38 am Monday, November 21, 2016

ALHS senior leads effort for eagle scout project

Children from birth through third grade in Albert Lea Area Schools will now have a new place to go to develop a love of reading.

Through a collaborative effort, the Reading Oasis Library opened on Friday at Brookside Education Center.

The library, in Room 206, was made possible through grants totaling $10,000 from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Scholastic and the four local Kiwanis clubs.

Jenny Hanson, coordinator of early learning for the district, said work on the project began last spring.

Albert Lea Area Schools Superintendent Mike Funk on Friday cuts a ribbon for the grand opening of the Reading Oasis Library at Brookside Education Center, surrounded by others who were a part of the project. Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

Albert Lea Area Schools Superintendent Mike Funk on Friday cuts a ribbon for the grand opening of the Reading Oasis Library at Brookside Education Center, surrounded by others who were a part of the project. Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

Sean Brownlow, a family friend and Albert Lea High School senior, was looking for a project to complete for his Eagle Scout badge and agreed to lead the project, Hanson said.

Brownlow said he organized 13 volunteers, including family and friends, to complete the project. Volunteers started the work in August and repaired and painted walls, framed art, put together shelving and unpacked 1,200 books for the project.

Brownlow said he, personally, volunteered a little over 20 hours for the project, and all of the volunteers combined contributed 60 to 70 hours.

He noted the project helped him learn leadership qualities.

Hanson said she hopes the space can be a comfortable space for children to visit.

“I’m super excited,” she said.

Children will be able to visit the library during open hours and read in the room. Books will not be available to check out.

The Reading Oasis Library will be open from 8 to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and during early childhood family education events in the evenings.

The Kiwanis clubs will be in charge of book displays, maintenance, guest reading and an incentive reading program.