Brookhaven Teens Overhaul Neighborhood Library

Lynwood Park Recreation Center houses more than 3,000 new books

While most teenagers were planning summer vacation trips, these two Brookhaven sisters were finishing up the renovations of something everyone in their neighborhood can enjoy - a renovated library.

Marilyn and Madeline Miller processed donations, cataloged, inventoried and sorted more than 3,000 new books for the shelves of the   -  a much needed resource where many of the books were old and outdated.

"There were books there, but there was nothing for teens at all," said Luann Miller, the girls' mother. "They looked at helping the schools and the Boys and Girls Club, but Lynwood was where they agreed they could make the most impact."

 Jared Hudson, the center's director said that the library is the answer to a 'pressing need' for the center.

"Prior to this expansion, most of our library materials were really dated.  Our community is extremely excited about our new library," Hudson said.

What started as an already ambitious goal to collect 1,000 books over the winter months, ended in a surplus of 5,000. The Miller sisters collected more than 6,000 books - double the capacity of the library space at Lynwood Park Recreation Center. The Westminster students held book drives at their school, solicited churches for unwanted books and received new donations from Goodwill and Borders stores that were going out of business.

The Miller sisters, who earlier this year were recognized by President Barack Obama for their outstanding community service, each tackled a separate part of the project as part of their Girl Scout Gold Award.

Madeline focused on the library’s younger customers, collecting first reader books and beginning chapter books up through sixth grade level. 

“Reading has been a lifelong passion of mine," Madeline said.  I am glad to help others start down this path."

Marilyn focused on teenage library customers by expanding the teen fiction, reference, business, and college and test prep collections. 

“As a rising high school junior, I am starting to think about test prep, college applications, and career choices myself, so those topics seemed like a good focus for my project,” said Marilyn.

The sisters donated the surplus of books to Books for Africa and other local charities.

The library project accounts for about 80 percent of their Girl Scout project assignment. The sisters still have some workshops to complete in order to complete the requirements.

"It was a win-win for everyone," Miller said.


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