New Life for old news is making a difference for Central Pa families


Like phone booths, newspaper vending machines were on every corner of Main Street, USA.

Now, they are relics -- collecting dust and trash in some cases.

Now, thanks to a Dauphin county reverend and his mission to get kids interested in reading, newspaper boxes are making a difference with different reading materials inside.

But before they can be reused, they have to be decorated.

We caught up with the kids in the Ten Times Better ministry in Middletown, as they were putting the finishing touches on the Mini-Libraries.

Many of the children weren't even alive when the newspaper vending boxes they painting were in their "hey day".

On every corner of main street pa, you just dropped in quarters and out came your daily printed news.

Now that everything is digital, there's not much need anymore. But instead of rusting and collecting dust, they are being upcycled and repainted and will hold something else Dauphin county residents can read - books.

Byron Lewis with the detective agency, The Browning Group, likens the Mini-Libraries to a similar program in his childhood. Lewis says, "When I was a kid, we had a thing called the bookmobile, where the bus would come around the neighborhood. I could go inside and read or check out books because it was part of the library. This makes that even more accessible, because I don't have to have a library card, all I have to do is be interested in what might be in there, take it out, read it and then I can always return it and get another one."

Great idea, right? Kristy Knowles would agree, because it's her idea.

Her dad was in the newspaper business for decades and decided to turn the old boxes into works of art that are also practical.

When she was approached by Reverend James Lyles about his ministry to get children interested in reading, Knowles jumped on board.

Knowles says, "It feels really good. I quit my corporate job and this is what I'm doing now! So knowing that these get another chance in the community is great, it feels amazing."

The old paper boxes are decorated with a different theme.

Many of them are sponsored, The Browning Group, Papa Johns, Members First Federal Credit Union, to name few.

They are then filled with books and placed in different locations around Dauphin county where people can take them for free.

Rev. James Lyles, founder of Youth Ten Times Better says, "And they're not just for libraries, they can also be used for emergencies, food pantries, so you could use social media in that neighborhood, get people to fill it with canned goods and then tell the people that they have some food there or any other information."

For the kids, this project truly is an education they are getting from books, but not from reading them.

Jaelynn Ebersole, 14 years old, says, "It means a lot and it can really help kids out there and even adults that really don't have anything."

Yasiel Santiago, 8 years old, says, "We went through my bookshelf and we donated a lot of books to put in here.”

For more information you can visit,

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off