Youth Projects Aim To Increase Literacy, Decrease Graffiti

OSWEGO, NY – At its meeting Monday night, the Physical Services Committee approved two proposals that will enhance the quality of life in Oswego.

Dawn Metott, representing the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, requested use of local parks for the Little Free Library Project.

The idea is to make a box (looks like an over sized mailbox or miniature house), place them in local parks, fill them with books and let the children and adults take a book, return a book and/or donate a book, she said.

“This idea is something they do nationwide and it started in Wisconsin. Similar nasty winters; but they keep their boxes out year round,” she told the committee. “The premise is to try and get more literacy into the hands of kids and adults. The way they started it was they had (boxes) in the neighborhoods. As people walked around the neighborhood they could come and take a book, drop some off. It led to some more socialization in the community.”

She said she contacted Sixth Ward Councilor Eric VanBuren about the possibility of starting the project in Oswego’s parks.

“I know we have a brick and mortar library here. But sometimes people can’t access it, don’t want to access it,” she pointed out. “This is something where they could just drop in if they’re in the park with their kids. They can grab a book, read it, take it with them, bring it back.”

Councilor VanBuren said he “is really excited about the project.”

“This will add a little bit something more to our parks. They’re doing a great job painting the boxes and everything,” he said.

How many books do people have in their homes that they have read and will never read again? Metott asked.

“Wouldn’t it be great as a community to pass along these books so others can read them,” she said.

For more information, she can be contacted at 349-3575 or [email protected]

For information about the project, visit

Metott admits there are some concerns theft and/or vandalism

“But, you can’t really steal books that are free. And, like the murals, we will just have to fix/repair them if they deface them,” she added. “Can’t let a few bad people ruin it for everyone else.”

Gingerbread House Proposal

Erin Chetney is a member of AmeriCorps and is working with the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau. She presented a plan clean up an eyesore.

Chetney is working with the Springboard Mural Project. She told the committee about her proposal to clean up graffiti on the city owned building (restrooms) along West Linear Park, behind the YMCA.

She would like to paint the building as a giant gingerbread house, she explained.

However, there are a few other designs if the gingerbread house idea doesn’t work, she added.

Committee chair Mike Myers said the gingerbread house theme is a great idea and encouraged her to move forward with the plan.

“The (building) is completely covered in graffiti. The only option (to clean it), we have is to cover the whole thing,” she explained. “And rather than doing it one color, I thought it would be more interesting to use the mural kids and have them make the building into a large gingerbread house.”

“I personally like the gingerbread idea. I think that’s a great idea,” Myers said.

“I think this is a great idea,” Councilor Dan Donovan agreed. “All the murals down there along the walk way look good. I think this is going to be great.”

“The project would help cover up the graffiti on the building and hopefully prevent it from being tagged in the future. It would also allow the youth of the Springboard Mural Project and any other area youth, to help out the community with their artistic ability,” Chetney said.

She hopes to complete the mural project on the restroom building some time later this month.