Senior Eagle Scout shares the joy of reading with his community through the sharing of books.


Books are powerful tools of escape; they can be a backdrop for the imagination, objects of informed discussion or sources of inspiration. Access to them can be just as impactful as learning to read, and sharing books with the community, especially to those who have limited opportunities, holds a tremendous amount of value. This goal of spreading the joy of reading was at the center of senior Michael Piccininni’s Eagle Scout project, for which he built Little Free Libraries — public book-cases that anyone can add a book to or take a book from— at Hastings Middle School and UAHS.

Originally, Piccininni was inspired by a project he undertook in his sophomore English class, when he conducted a book drive and donated the books that he collected. “I was building o# my earlier idea of my project in my sophomore year. [I] had a ton of success with that book drive — I [collected] over 500 books — so I knew that people who were willing to donate were out there,” he said. “I raised over 200 books this time, and I donated all the extra ones to the United Methodist Church free store on Parson’s Avenue in Columbus. [They] serve underprivileged people in the community.”

Eagle Scout is the highest rank earned in the Scouting program, and to earn it, one must demonstrate a high capacity for leadership skills. These qualities along with a number of required merit badges, are all a part of the process.
“As I was developing my Eagle Scout project, I asked myself: ‘What’s something [that’s] really important to me and I can actually make an impact?’ Obviously there’s tons of these little libraries around UA; I’m pretty sure there’s one at every school now,” Piccininni said. “And so seeing those I just thought that that would be a great thing that I could do, was definitely manageable and was something that could really make an impact.” Piccininni’s Eagle Scout adviser, Laura Skoracki, commented on his leadership and perseverance throughout the process.

“In completing his project, [it] required a total of 106.5 man hours involving 22 people. He had to learn
to communicate his plan and give direction not only to peers but to adults that comprised nearly half of his workforce. As a leader he had to direct every detail in making the libraries and collecting the books,” Skoracki said in an email.

Through his hard work, Piccininni has created libraries that can make an impact, Skoracki said.

“The best part about this project is not only the joy that it will bring to the community, but also the satisfaction of all of those involved in making it possible,” she wrote. “[There] is a sense of pride in the community knowing that together we are doing something to make reading more accessible.”