Connor Marsh

Connor Marsh prepares a free book exchange box around Pine Knoll Shores for his Eagle Scout project recently. (Megan Soult photo)

Rising eighth-grader and Pine Knoll Shores resident Connor Marsh found a way to help his community and honor his grandmother’s memory at the same time with his Eagle Scout project.

Connor is a Boy Scout with Troop 130 in Morehead City. When it was time to work on his Eagle Scout project, he knew he wanted to remember his grandmother, who died a few months ago.

She was an avid reader, so for his project, Connor decided to install book exchange boxes around Pine Knoll Shores.

“My grandmother would come here to read,” he said. “I decided I wanted to do something in memory of her.”

Connor’s grandmother was a public school librarian, and she passed her love of reading on to her children and grandchildren. For Christmas, she would send Connor books and Barnes & Noble gift cards.

“I was always read to as a child,” he said recently.

Connor said both sets of grandparents like to read, as do his parents. He also likes to read at night before falling asleep, so choosing a book exchange box seemed like a natural fit for his Eagle Scout project.

The boxes will be installed at public access and park locations, including Ocean Park sittum, Brock Basin shelter and Hall Haven.

Connor picked the locations because they were easy to get to and within walking distance of many of the residential homes.

“I put them here for the elderly,” he said. “It would be a lot easier for them to walk and get a book than having to drive to the library. Some of them can’t drive.”

When starting his project in May, Connor had a long to-do list. He came up with a budget and got the project approved by the Eagle Board.

In order to raise the required money, he went through a fundraising process and talked to the Pine Knoll Shores Homeowners’ Association and the Friends of the Bogue Banks Public Library. He talked to more than 100 people about his project.

To assist with the project, the friends group will donate a lifetime supply of books for the boxes.

While making his presentation before the HOA, members were concerned about the lifespan of the book exchange boxes, especially in the area’s humid conditions.

 Connor decided to purchase pre-assembled boxes made with a high-quality composite material able to withstand harsh weather.

With the help of some of his fellow Scouts, Connor has been assembling the boxes around town.

The boxes came from, while the rest of the materials, such as the wood and the mulch surrounding the book exchange boxes, came from Lowe’s Home Improvement.

Some maintenance needed to be done at the site locations, as well. Connor and his fellow Scout volunteers cleared bushes and remove stumps from the Hall Haven location.

Connor said the boxes can hold between 40-50 books, depending on size. He will stock them with children’s books, large print options and new arrivals.

His family even decided to help with the project. Connor’s living grandmother donated books to help fill the boxes.

The Scout hopes to have the boxes completed before school starts. He also has planned a dedication ceremony, but is waiting for the sponsor plaques to arrive.

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