Walking up to the Shirah Street Beach Access, there’s a little outpost to the right that could be mistaken for some sort of quaint birdhouse.
But upon closer inspection, the horizontal wood-rimmed door to the house has “borrow a book” burned into the wood and “mini library” scorched onto the bottom of the frame.
A row of paperbacks and hardbacks from the likes of Dean Koontz, Patricia Cornwell and Michael Palmer are stacked neatly within the hut.
These mini libraries were made for beachgoers who are in need of a good book to read while relaxing on the beach. The idea to install mini libraries throughout Destin was dreamed up by Fort Walton High School senior Carson Miller.
Miller planned out and built the mini libraries for his Eagle Scout project with guidance from his father, Johnny.
“I didn’t want to build a generic bench,” Miller said. “My dad and I were driving around and saw a mini library and we thought it was a great idea to put some by the different beach accesses.”
He used recyclable materials to make six mini libraries and went through the city to get the approval needed to place the libraries by the beach accesses.
“My parents sent out a note on social media about my Eagle Scout project to ask people for book donations,” said Miller. “Boy, we got a ton of books.”
Miller said the project was a lot of work and was more complicated than just building the mini libraries.
“It taught me a lot about hard work and what you can accomplish with it,” he said.
It took about two weeks to build all six of the libraries.
Beachgoers can find the mini libraries installed at five beach accesses along Scenic Highway 98 including Barracuda Street, Pompano Street, Tarpon Street, The Shores at Crystal Beach, and Shirah Street. The sixth mini library is located at O’Steen Public Beach Access on Holiday Isle.
Next year, Miller will be attending Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He plans to major in materials engineering.
“Basically it’s like finding materials that make things better, like composite materials to make objects cheaper and stronger.”
Miller finished fourth in his graduating class and continues to work toward becoming an Eagle Scout with Troop 599.