BETHLEHEM — Two local children continue to remind the community that age is not a barrier when it comes to giving back and donating.
Town residents McKenna Mahan, 5, and her sister, Caidyn, 8, asked their grandfather to build a free “mini-library” near the intersection of Hudson Avenue and Adams Street in Delmar. Installed by the Rail Trail, it aims to encourage locals to stop and read while enjoying the trail, as well as inspire people to donate books of their own to it.
On Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 10 a.m., the Mahan sisters, accompanied by their parents, helped unveil the mini-library and fill it with numerous books of their own, as well as some that were donated by other residents.
They were joined by Town of New Scotland Supervisor Doug LaGrange, Albany County Legislators Rich Mendick (R-36), Bill Reinhardt (D-33), and Lucille McKnight (D-1), Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy’s Executive Director Mark King, County Executive Daniel P. McCoy, and Bethlehem Town Supervisor David VanLuven.
“People can stop and take a break and read a book or donate a book,” said Caidyn, pointing out the books inside the mini-library. “Some of them we’ve read, some of them we haven’t read. … We have like shelves of them in our rooms that are full of books and we just took some for this.”
“Reading can make you smart and it’s fun!” she added.
They also said they were recently influenced by “a commercial on Disney Channel” where someone put books in a mini-library in their front yard, and they then “wanted to do something nice for the town and the county and the neighborhood.”
During the press conference, McCoy specifically expressed gratitude to the Mahan sisters for their charitable efforts in the past.
“They both have donated blankets to hospice, food to the Ronald McDonald House, sent [Valentine’s Day] cards to the kids at Albany Med, they raised over $4,000 from a lemonade stand to benefit a police officer fighting cancer,” he said.
VanLuven noted the importance of individual people’s efforts for the greater community and how “it’s particularly inspiring that we see it expand generations, where we have the grandfather building [the mini-library], Officer Mahan participating and the girls actually making it happen. It’s a multi-generational thing and that’s what makes a town into a community.”
After unveiling the mini-library, McCoy presented the Mahan family with a plaque that read, “Donated by: Caidyn, McKenna and Kendall Mahan 2018.” The sisters and several other children then began filling the mini-library with numerous books.
McCoy concluded that the mini-library “gives more people interaction, it gives [families] an opportunity to coach [their kids] into the library and say, ‘Hey, get a book, let’s read it as you’re walking, put it back, exchange books.’ Again, it probably is about getting kids away from their controllers, their Xbox and Wii and PlayStation, and getting them to get outside to exercise.”
“So, this is another way to not just help advance that and the quality of life, but also to be greener but most importantly, we can educate our kids as we have them out on the Rail Trail without them realizing what we’re doing.”
Click on a photo below to view a slideshow of the rest.