Little purple wooden homes holding dozens of books are starting to pop up around Merced County. These ‘Little Lending Libraries’ are one way the Merced County Office of Education’s working to improve literacy rates so children start Kindergarten ready to read. Each one is made by hand with care by the county’s very own students.

Every time a nail gun shoots it’s the sound of a job well done in ‘The Shop’ at Valley Community School. It’s a place where David and Francisco found their passion. Both students are putting their hands to work almost every day.

Placed around the county, with more to come, the purple book havens with a ‘take one leave one’ rule is one way the county is getting books directly into the hands of those who can’t access them and the production — a way to support these teens.

“Quite simply a lot of students we have we know aren’t going to go to college. They love working with their hands. They love the vocational training. What we want to do is encourage these students to go ahead and learn these traits and get them out in the work force to become productive citizens,” said Construction Tech Teacher Steve Macha.

With siblings of their own and a new found passion for school building these libraries is a cause near to these young men’s hearts.

“I feel like it’s a good thing to put these things out there so a lot of kids can get a chance to read and get somewhere in life,” said David.

Knowing they built Little Lending Libraries with their own two hands? An added bonus.

“Feels good like you accomplished it,” Francisco.

Both Francisco and David said since being in the shop class they both now want to be construction workers and are planning on getting jobs right after they graduate.