Dakota Boucher, 13, Idyllwild resident and Girl Scout Cadette, plans to become a doctor — a general practitioner. At this moment in time, the well-spoken young lady is promoting reading — not on a device of one kind or another, but reading of the old-fashioned sort — with a book held in the hands.
Although not a required Girl Scout project, the libraries were Dakota’s idea; to build and install two sustainable free-lending libraries, one in Pine Cove near the deer installation at Shane Stewart’s Pine Cove Market and gas station and another adjacent to the Mountain Center Post Office.
The libraries will be free-standing, anchored in cement, with an overhang, weather stripping and Plexiglas doors to protect the books. “The project is intended to be sustainable and one that is good for the community,” said Dakota. “I think reading is important, and the self-service library will be stocked with books. People can take one and leave one.” The libraries do not require management. They depend on the goodwill of and appropriate use by the community. “We’ll be making plaques explaining how to use the libraries,” said Dakota, already an experienced woodworker.
When asked if reading on a handheld device, like a smart phone or Kindle, is just as good, Dakota said, “It’s not the same as holding a book. I like to read fiction, Harry Potter books and some by John Green (‘The Fault in our Stars’).” As to the growing use by her generation of handheld devices for communication, Dakota said, “It’s better to talk in person because of [the importance] of facial expressions.”
Dakota, accompanied at the Town Crier interview by her mother Shawntel and grandmother Sandy, said the libraries are designed to be an ongoing service to the communities of Pine Cove and Mountain Center.
When completed, installed and stocked, the libraries will qualify Dakota for a silver award from the Girl Scouts. Installation is planned, at both locations, for early September.
“I’m sure this will be the first of many honors that Dakota will receive,” said proud grandmother Sandy Boucher.