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Little Free Library – Read!

This particular Little Free Library was built by Girl Scout Troop 52 and assisted by Becky Shankle, contractor.Little Free Library had a goal to create as many of these stations as Andrew Carnegie did for public libraries: 2,509. They surpassed this goal long ago!*This goal was reached in August of 2012, a year and a half before our original target date.  By January of 2014, the total number of registered Little Free Libraries in the world was conservatively estimated to be nearly 15,000, with thousands more being built.

The History of Little Free Library

The very first Little Free Library built by Todd in honor of his mother.

The People Who Started the Movement        

In the beginning—2009–Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading.  He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard.  His neighbors and friends loved it.  He built several more and gave them away.  Each one had a sign that said FREE BOOKS.

Rick Brooks, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison,  saw Bol’s do-it-yourself project while they were discussing potential social enterprises. Together, the two saw opportunities to achieve a wide variety of  goals for the common good.  Each brought different skills to the effort, Bol as a creative craftsman experienced with innovative enterprise models and Brooks as a youth and community development educator with a background in social marketing.

They were inspired by many different ideas:

  • Andrew Carnegie’s support of 2,509 free public libraries around the turn of the 19th to 20th century.
  • The heroic achievements of Miss Lutie Stearns, a librarian who brought books to nearly 1400 locations in Wisconsin through “traveling little libraries” between 1895 and 1914.
  • “Take a book, leave a book” collections in coffee shops and public spaces.
  • Neighborhood kiosks, TimeBanking and community gift-sharing networks
  • Grassroots empowerment movements in Sri Lanka, India and other countries worldwide.

Be sure to visit their website; what a great thing to make available!


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