Indian Creek School Class of 2026 designed and built two recently installed “Little Free Libraries” in the county, one behind “The Big Bean,” in Severna Park, and another in on Poplar Trail in Annapolis.
“We did it as STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) project,” said Fourth Grade Teacher Heather DeBuse, who worked in partnership with another fourth-grade teacher, Kay Snyder. DeBuse said the project went beyond STEM though, it became a way to enrich the community.
The library behind “The Big Bean” is state themed. “We’ve got lots of scenes from Maryland— Thomas Point Lighthouse, a Maryland flag and a blue crab,” DeBuse said. “The kids designed the whole thing.”
In Annapolis, the library is book-themed including scenes and quotes from “Tale of Despereaux,” and “Because of Winn Dixie,” books the students studied read through the year.
Due to Mrs. DeBuse’s love of the Charlie Brown Snoopy character, her students added a whimsical touch of a hidden Snoopy on every side of the book themed library. “It makes it more interactive,” she said.
Parent Volunteers Ben and Sarah Harries, whose daughter Isabelle was in DeBuse’s class, covered the cost of the projects, and Ben volunteered to help them assemble and install them. Families from both classes donated the books.
Ben and Isabelle installed the libraries in August. Ben said, “I know a lot of the children in my daughter’s class, so it was nice, and it was fun.”
Ben and Sarah own BuilderGuru Contracting/Gardiner & Gardiner Contracting, so Ben said
he’s always happy to encourage children to learn a bit of construction and even encourages them one day to consider learning a trade. He ensured every child had a hand in putting a screw in the box.
Sarah, who works with her husband, said Isabelle was very excited about the little libraries. “She’s a reading enthusiast,” Sarah said of her daughter.
Isabelle was familiar with the libraries. “I saw a bunch of them in Nantucket,” Isabel explained.
She enjoyed building the boxes. “I got to drill the sides of it with a screw driver and I got to paint the sides,” she said, though she couldn’t actually hammer it into the ground because her dad had to use a sledge hammer, she explained.
“Our class brought books to put in the library,” she said. Isabelle enjoys reading, particularly graphic novels.
“It’s a cute project and it’s a nice way to give back to the community,” Sarah said. She also hopes it will inspire more reading.
Though the students have advanced to fifth grade they’re excited about the heritage they’ve left in the community.