Give a book, take a book, or don’t give a book but just take one to read! That is the general idea of the Shelby Coyote book kiosk located outside the Prairie Peddler created by 2020 Shelby High School graduate Brogan McAllister. McAllister has been a huge advocate of putting books in the hands of younger readers for the past couple of years and even though she has wrapped up her school career in Shelby she is making sure the young readers still have access.
“As my family and I traveled around we would see them at different places. I always thought they were really neat and decided that Shelby could use one,” said McAllister. “I feel that it is important for kids to get off their devices and have something real in their hands. This way they get something real and have the experience of sharing it with others.”
McAllister did have a bit of help with her project. She received an old Cut Bank Pioneer Press newspaper stand from Brian and LeAnne Kavanagh to serve as the kiosk. Barbie Alvestad, owner of Big Sky Creative Works, made the outstanding vinyl covering for the outside and Tyler Lunda came and painted the coyote on the front.
“I am very grateful for all of these people,” smiled McAllister. “Without them this would not have been possible.”
McAllister’s love of reading and wanting to share it with others has also been instrumental in her book sharing. Her parents, Shannon and Darcy McAllister, have always encouraged her to read and to improve upon her reading skills. Shelby Elementary School librarian Wendy Reynolds has also had an impact on McAllister’s love of reading.
As a kid, McAllister always enjoyed “The Magic Treehouse” books and the “Warriors” series. As she grew older her love for fiction continued, moving on to the “Eragon” and Michael Vey series.
Sharing her love for reading and making books available to younger readers is important to McAllister for a couple of reasons. Making books available with the kiosk is her way of giving back to her community, which she enjoys doing.
“I am planning on attending MSU-Bozeman and studying Biochemistry,” said McAllister. “I am also looking to continue various community service actives through the school.”
While McAllister will leave for Bozeman in the fall, she has faith that her book kiosk will thrive even in her absence. The concept of the kiosk is simple and of no great expense to those utilizing it.
“How the kiosk works is that once you are done with a book you can donate it and put it in the kiosk and take one out if you see one you like,” explained McAllister. “But you do not have to donate one. If you are just walking past you can grab a book. Therefore, as long as there is traffic flow the books will be constantly changing. I also have people in the community that will be checking up on it to ensure there are adequate books.”
If you would like to donate some books to the kiosk simply add the book to the stand. If there isn’t any room amongst the books already there simply place it in the bottom of the stand where it can be stored until there is space.
“I am not looking for any specific types of books, just any that people have enjoyed and would like to share with others,” said McAllister. “Most of the books were donated to me from the library through Mrs. Reynolds and Mrs. Scarborough. We have also purchased some through garage sales and I also donated some of my own books.”
McAllister encourages people of all ages to check out the Coyote book kiosk, use it and share the love of reading with others, especially the younger generation. As long as that happens McAllister’s gift to the community will be a long-term success.
“I am hoping they will see the kiosk and get excited,” concluded McAllister. “I want kids to enjoy reading and to want to do it. Hopefully this will make it more fun for the kids and spark a love of reading in them.”