One of the coolest movements related to books and reading began in 2009. At that time, Wisconsinite Todd Bol built a small-scale model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, an educator who was passionate about reading, and placed it in his front yard. He filled the little schoolhouse with books, letting anyone who happened by take or leave a book as they wished. The “Little Free Library” was born. Others soon found out about this idea and wanted to participate in their own communities. By 2012, there were over 4,000 registered Little Free Libraries. By 2016, that number had grown to more than 50,000; by 2020, more than 100,000; and today there are over 150,000 registered Little Free Libraries in over 100 countries across the world, reporting more than 70 million books shared annually. These are libraries that are officially registered and chartered Little Free Libraries, not to mention others that have popped up and are in use all over the place.

This concept, a weatherproof box where anyone at all can stop by, take a book, or share one of their own with others, is simple. However, as the statistics indicate, the idea resonates with people around the world. A shared community resource builds bonds and showcases a shared passion to help one another, foster a love of reading, and the importance of education and literacy. In Logan County, you can find several of these boxes in use. Here are several that I’m aware of. If you know of others, please let me know!

King Simpson is the Director of the Logan County Public Library.

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