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story.lead_photo.caption SubmittedCalifornia High School junior Treston Lewis works on a Little Free Library. Lewis, the Art Club president at CHS for the upcoming school year, has worked together with other CHS students this summer to complete the library boxes to be placed throughout the county on behalf of the Moniteau County Library and Central Missouri Community Action. Other students that have aided with the project include Gwen Yarnell, an outgoing senior and the club’s former president.

Little Free Library construction is underway in Moniteau County, headed by students in California High School's Art Club.

The project began as the school year wrapped up in the second week of May and will continue throughout the summer. The project — and the CHS Art Club's involvement — is a result of a request from the Moniteau County Library and Central Missouri Community Action; the idea originally came up during a Moniteau County Library Board meeting earlier this year and will approach fruition as the summer wears on.

Within the next few months, the group plans to finish five Little Free Libraries, CHS art teacher and Art Club sponsor Brad Friedrich said. Work has stalled a bit for the time being, Friedrich said last week, but within the next month or so students will begin painting and finalizing the library box structures.

While the structured design of each standalone library will be the same, Friedrich said each student who works on the project will have the opportunity to design their own layout and color palette for it.

"The students and I are very excited to work on this project with the Moniteau County Library and to share our students' creative talents," Friedrich said.

Friedrich said, in part, the Art Club's involvement coincides with its habit of completing a community service project every other year. The group couldn't last year due to the shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, so helping to construct Little Free Libraries provided an opportunity to bring back that community service work, he said.

Friedrich said a Little Free Library serves as a way for a community to donate books for those who may not have easy access to them. Each Little Free Library is assigned to a designated area of the community, and is comprised of a miniature library shed that can hold books for children to read.

More information about Little Free Libraries is available at www.littlefreelibrary.org.

"I am excited to see our community reaction to the Little Free Library project," Friedrich said. "I think they will love it."

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