Students from Lincoln Elementary School in Springfield put books in one of the Houses of Knowledge dedicated Monday April 30, 2018. A total of seven Houses of Knowledge were installed at schools in the district. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

These new boxes are at schools around Springfield, and they’ll give students new ways to read

They might look like oversized mailboxes, but literary leaders say “houses of knowledge” are actually keys to getting age-appropriate reading materials into the hands of Springfield youth.

The Springfield City Schools held ceremonies with Conscious Connect Inc. and the Springfield Foundation at several local elementary schools Monday to celebrate the “little libraries” opening. The boxes will serve as pick-up and drop-off points for books and other reading materials for those who can’t easily get access to them.

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“Our mission is to re-imagine under-utilized spaces for the purposes of education, culture and peace,” Conscious Connect Inc. representative Karlos Marshall said. “Our primary objective is to create a literary oasis within the greater Miami Valley region starting by making Springfield the preeminent literary oasis in the nation by eradicating book deserts.”

Conscious Connect uses unconventional measures to get children high quality print material, he said.

“People might not be able to get to a library, so we want to (make) reading materials readily available to everyone,” Marshall said. “We want to make a culture of literacy.”

The houses of knowledge were set up at Lincoln Elementary, Perrin Woods, Fulton Elementary, The Clark Center, Laganda Elementary, Mann Elementary and Kenwood Elementary. Marshall hopes by the end of summer that the other schools have a similar house along with churches and other neighborhood centers.

The project blossomed when the Springfield Foundation donated $15,000, Marshall said.

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“This was monumental to see the number of partners and community come together for one common purpose, we are all here for the students,” Marshall said.

While the boxes are for students, they were also designed by students. John Bryant, an eighth-grader at Haywood Middle School, helped design and build the box at Lincoln Elementary.

“We were wanting to help out the community,” Bryh said of why he volunteered. “We wanted to help kids be able to read because not everybody has a chance to go to the local library.”

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He said he and his classmates searched for what the boxes should look like and then started to construct it.

“I thought it was pretty cool,” he said.

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