My first encounter with a Little Free Library was during a walk through downtown Minneapolis this spring. It was purple and hot pink with a glass front window and a note that said, “Take a book for yourself, leave a book for your neighbors.” Inside was a motley selection: picture books, biographies, young adult titles, self-help books, and novels. I was so moved by this bespoke book exchange that I wanted to hug whoever had dreamed up such a brilliant idea that combined literacy and community and the charm of a lemonade stand—and I wanted to build one for my own neighbors back home.
“Take a book for yourself, leave a book for your neighbors.”
The Little Free Library movement came about in 2009 when Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin built a model of a one-room schoolhouse, filled it with books, and installed it on his front lawn as a tribute to his mother, a beloved reader, neighbor, and after-school tutor. When neighbors and friends began asking Bol to build little libraries for them to install, a global movement was born. Today, approximately 30,000 little libraries have been established and more than 40 million books have been exchanged. And six new ones are coming to West University Place—each designed to look like a neighborhood landmark. Continue reading