By Ruth A. Ringelstetter
Maybe you have one in your neighborhood, or maybe you’ve driven by one. Little Free Libraries are popping up all over the United States, and in other countries of the world.
The first little free library was built by Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin in 2009. He built the library in the shape of a one room school to honor his mother who had been a teacher and who loved books. He put it on a post in his front yard and filled it with books. His neighbors loved it.
He built several more and gave them away. On each one, he put a sign that stated “free books.”
I don’t remember how I first heard about the Little Free Libraries, but I remember seeing our first one in Madison, and commenting to Joann “Oh, there’s a Little Free Library.” Her response was “What’s a Little Free Library?”, so we had to turn around and go back. Of course, once she saw it, we had to get a picture of it.
And once you notice one, you start noticing them all around. At least, in Wisconsin you do. So far, I haven’t marked the locations in my research, so when we find one, we just turn around to get a picture.
We’re looking forward to finding some in other states as we visit. It’s interesting to see the many different designs. For instance, in Baraboo, Wisconsin, home of the Circus World Museum, one of the Little Free Libraries is in the shape of a circus wagon.
The goal of the Little Free Library organization was to build 2,510 little free libraries which was equal to the free libraries built by Andrew Carnegie, but by January of 2014, the number of Little Free Libraries worldwide was estimated to be close to 15,000, with more being built.
Both Joann and I love books, which for us started in the tiny library of our four-room Catholic grade school. Neither of us has taken a book or left a book at a little free library yet, but we sure get enjoyment out of seeing and photographing them.
Look around as you travel about, and you’re bound to see Little Free Libraries where you live.