A few weeks ago as I was walking past my friend Joyce’s house I noticed her husband, George, installing a small wooden house on a post out front. As I wondered, “What in the world is he doing?” he saw me and told me about an organization called “Little Free Library.org“. This organization came into being a few years ago when a man in Wisconsin named Todd Bol built a replica of a one room school house, as a tribute to his mother, who had been a school teacher. Todd then filled the small structure with books and put the house on a post with a sign that said, “Free Books.” Visitors to the “library” were encouraged to take a book or leave a book…. and that was that… or so he thought.
What happened next is that Todd’s friends liked his idea so much that he was asked to make several more “free libraries”. Then Todd met a man named Rich Brooks and the two of them realized that this idea could be the start of something much greater. I won’t try to retell their story, since you can read all about it (and I encourage you to do so!) on the history link of their website.
The mission of Little Free Library.org is to “Promote reading for children, literacy for adults and libraries around the world” and since 2009, this wonderful idea that Todd had has blossomed into a not-for-profit that has already created more than 2,500 little “free” libraries across the country. Their goal had been to reach the same number of libraries that Andrew Carnegie had done with full-size public libraries (2509) and they have surpassed that goal and expect to reach more than 10,000 little libraries by early next year.
I guess you can tell that I was pretty impressed by the little library concept. In fact, the very next day I brought two books to add to Joyce and George’s library. When I passed by later that day, I noticed that “my” books were already gone. That those books had been sitting in my house for years untouched and within hours had found their way into someone else’s hands is absolutely wonderful. And just the other day when I looked in the little library I found a copy of “Where the Wild Things Are” written in Czech. Why is this a good thing you might wonder? Well, in a few months we will be hosting a student from the Czech Republic. I think it will be kind of neat to have her teach me to read Czech with a book that I am familiar with.
Perhaps you are wondering if I have forgotten that this blog is about giving away pies… well, the short answer is “No.” Last Sunday, to thank Joyce and George for their generous gift to our community, I made and delivered to them a Chocolate Cream Pie. I am tickled about their project and very grateful to be a part of such a caring and sharing community.
A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessities of life. Henry Ward Beecher