AUSTINTOWN, Ohio — At 7 years old, Cody O’Connell stays busy.

He’s a second-grader at Austintown Elementary School and a member of the Cub Scouts; he takes tap dance and guitar lessons; and is a member of Chicken Feet, a rock band in Hubbard Music’s Rock U music instruction program.

His mom, Courtney, said most nights Cody has something to do after school.

“He stays busy,” she said. “For sure.”

In addition to his schooling, Cub Scouts meetings and music lessons, Cody had an idea.

“I went to a library, and I thought I should make my own library,” Cody said.

So he did.

It began as a diaper box in the yard, filled with books. Then, out of necessity, Cody’s Little Library became a wooden box to hold — and better protect — a greater number of books.

Cody helped his dad construct the box, which resembles a house with a peaked roof, with shingles and all, and helped his mom paint the box red.

The community library hangs in a tree in the family’s Notre Dame Avenue Home, designated by a sign that reads “Cody’s Little Library.” Residents are free to take a book or leave a book.

Courtney and Pat, who are parents of three boys, said people have given much more than they’ve taken.

“We might have to make it bigger,” Pat said.

Cody’s favorite books are from the Harry Potter and Captain Underpants series. Courtney said he reads to his younger brothers, Declan and Matthew, all the time.

Cody’s latest project incorporates the community library. Every year around the holidays, the O’Connells make an effort to give back.

Below the library is a tote, where Cody’s asking for donations of lightly used blankets for homeless animals in the area.

“These are his biggest ideas,” Courtney said. “He’s really creative in his thought process.”

The family will collect blankets for the rest of December. They’ve dropped off a load to Angels for Animals in Green Township, and plan to give the rest to area animal shelters.

Cody said he hopes to be either a veterinarian or scientist when he grows up.

He was recognized at the Dec. 11 Austintown trustee meeting for giving back to his community.

“It’s just so amazing to see him think things up, work them out and then stick with them,” Courtney said. “It’s heartwarming to see how he has these ideas.”


Information from: The Vindicator, http://www.vindy.com