When Todd Bol wanted to do something in memory of his mother, a librarian and book lover who passed away a decade ago, he came up with the idea of little free libraries – he built a miniature version of a library, filled it with books and left it on his lawn for anyone to take! What started on this one man’s lawn soon became a movement and now these little free libraries can be found in 24 states in the US and eight countries world wide!
“Take a book, leave a book,” says Bol, explaining in a nutshell, the basic concept of these tiny libraries.
After building the first library, Bol thought the idea had potential to spread. He contacted his friend Rick Brooks, who is an outreach program manager for the Division of Continuing Studies at the University of Wisconsin.
Together, they have helped launch a small, but growing movement.
The men provide logistical assistance and support to people who want to become mini-librarians. They have a website, littlefreelibrary.org
, that provides drawings people can use to construct the boxes. It also has a map that tracks the location of Little Libraries.
In Wisconsin, Brooks says prison inmates recently started building the libraries, which will soon be posted in several Wisconsin communities.
He says a project is in the works in New Orleans to create libraries out of Hurricane Katrina debris.
People who use the libraries don’t have to have a library card, or follow any formal checkout procedure. The libraries have signs that simply ask users to return a book — there are no fines if they don’t.
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