Little Free Library idea brings neighbors, readers together
JANESVILLE Libraries have a reputation to maintain: silence, shelves of books and pert librarians, with glasses fixed on the edges of their noses.
But a new library of sorts is moving into neighborhoods, front yards, parks or even the local market. The Little Free Library is the new kid on the block, and it’s taking books off the traditional shelves and moving them into the great outdoors.
The idea of a Little Free Library is to “take a book, leave a book,” said Richard Brooks of Madison. Brooks co-founded the LFL movement with Todd Bols of Hudson in 2009.
“Todd built (a Little Free Library) in his front yard as a memorial to his mother who was a school teacher,” Brooks said. “There were a lot of motivations that came together.”
For Patrice Groessel of Janesville, sharing with neighbors was the motivation for her and her husband to establish a LFL in the front yard of their home on Briar Crest Drive.
“I’ve met new neighbors I didn’t know I had,” Groessel said. “They talk about themselves. It’s kind of a way of opening up the neighborhood.”
She added, “We love books. In this complicated world, we think technology is good, but we thought it’d be a simple thing to share (with) the community.”
For Jackie Gennett, owner of Bushel & Peck’s Local Market in Beloit, having a Little Free Library inside the business is a way to build up the community.
“We think any investment in our community members is a smart thing to do,” Gennett said. “We really like to provide things that are not just things to buy, but to help engage the community and invoke thoughts and thinking.”
For Gennett, the Little Free Library also serves as a reminder for people to read.
“The idea is it’s a book exchange program in a public space,” she said. “It’s making books accessible that might not be accessible.”
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