Voracious readers have a Powell teen to thank for the installation of "little libraries" at four city parks.

Jack Bailey, a 16-year-old senior at Liberty High School, contacted the city of Powell earlier this year while contemplating his Eagle Scout Service Project. He said Scouts typically have some leeway in choosing their project, which is a requirement for attaining Eagle Scout status.

"It should be helping your community," he said. "The idea of it is to help someone outside of Boy Scouts."

Bailey said he'd seen little libraries -- boxes filled with books anyone can take and return, or replace with a different book -- on vacation and wondered if they might be appreciated in Powell.

"I knew it was something the community would like because I've seen these spring up a lot of other places and it seems like they're very popular," he said.

After contacting the city and receiving the go-ahead from staff with the parks and recreation department, Bailey built boxes for four little libraries in about a month. City workers later installed the libraries at Adventure, Arbor Ridge, Library and Murphy parks.

"They loved the idea, (but) they wanted something with very little maintenance," Bailey said.

He said he employed leadership and woodworking skills while undertaking the project.

Powell spokeswoman Megan Canavan said the city has worked with prospective Eagle Scouts for years on "mutually beneficial" projects.

"We're really grateful for that partnership," she said.

Canavan said the city typically requests prospective Eagle Scouts to come up with projects that don't require much assistance from city workers.

"We want them to be able to work independently and do a lot of (the project) on their own," she said.

Canavan said Delaware County District Library staffers have agreed to periodically check on the little libraries.

Bailey said he's a few merit badges and some paperwork away from Eagle Scout status. If he achieves the rank, it won't be a first for the Bailey family.

Robbins Bailey, Jack Bailey's grandfather, previously graduated to the highest rank of the Boy Scouts of America. Jack Bailey built the boxes for the libraries at his grandfather's home in Powell.

"He pushes me to get to Eagle Scout and he's my role model for this," he said.

Bailey, who plays sousaphone in the Liberty High School marching band, said he hopes to attend Ohio State University and study history.

tgallick@thisweeknews.com

@twgallick