December 20, 2018
Reading and Ken Brown just seem to go together – and now, more than ever.
The Badin High School teacher has built two outdoor libraries, known as Little Free Libraries, for the Lindenwald area of Hamilton and is thrilled to be giving back to his community.
“I’ve had a sign on my board in the classroom for years,” said Brown, a 1968 Badin High grad who has spent his career in teaching. “It says, ‘A good reader is a person who reads.’ I’ve always tried to promote reading.”
Working with the 17Strong Neighborhoods committee of Hamilton – which refers to Hamilton’s 17 neighborhoods – Brown received a grant of $750 to build what are essentially large birdhouses on 2x4s full of books. They will be located at Benninghofen Park and Griesmer Park in Lindenwald … and Brown is building a third that will be placed on Pleasant Avenue near the Lindenwald business district.
“I didn’t do this to get any recognition,” Brown said. “I just think it’s a neat thing to do to promote reading.”
Brown was at a meeting of the 17Strong Neighborhoods committee in Lindenwald – each neighborhood has its own subcommittee -- when a presentation was given about a successful Little Free Library at Highland Elementary. It sounded intriguing to him.
“My sister, Joan Stidham, encouraged me to apply for a grant,” as the 17Strong Neighborhoods group is supported by the city. “I submitted a grant application and made a presentation to the committee and it was approved.”
Brown grew up in Lindenwald and has lived in his current house for the past 43 years. He and his wife, Wanda, are the parents of two sons, Pat and Kevin, who graduated from Badin in 1995 and 1998, respectively.
A graduate of Miami University – in fact, he was in the very first class at 8 a.m. on the day Miami University/Hamilton opened in 1968 – Ken Brown spent two years in the U.S. Army before beginning his teaching career at St. Mary’s School in Hamilton in the fall of 1974.
Brown has a bachelor and master’s degree in Elementary Education from Miami and taught at Hayes Elementary in Hamilton for more than three decades. After retiring from public education, Brown has been at Badin for the past eight years teaching biology and algebra. He has been an assistant baseball coach at Badin for 25 years.
He points out that Little Free Library is a national organization to support reading.
“We’ll have books for children, books for adolescents and books for adults in the library,” Brown said. “People can take a book and read it and bring it back. If they don’t bring it back, that’s OK, too.”
Brown said he was particularly gratified by the support he received from the Badin High School faculty, which brought him two boxes of books for use in the libraries. Brown also purchased some books to put in the libraries with some of the money he had left over from the initial grant.
“What will be satisfying to me is if the libraries are used and are successful,” Brown said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Contact: Dirk Q. Allen, (513) 863-3993, ext. 120; Dallen@BadinHS.org