'Little Free Library' project in Duluth keeps books close to homeBorrowing books just got a little bit easier, thanks to some local Duluthians. These folks charge no late fees or damage fines, and you can walk on their grass.
By: Thomas Vaughn, Duluth Budgeteer News
Borrowing books just got a little bit easier, thanks to some local Duluthians. These folks charge no late fees or damage fines, and you can walk on their grass.
“Reading is such an important part of my life. I wanted to share books with people. These books are free, people can leave a book as well, and it’s open twenty-four-seven,” said Joetta Snow, a Lakeside resident who opened her Little Free Library in May in her front yard, at 4005 Dodge Street.
The Little Free Library movement is a worldwide movement, according to the organization’s website. Its mission is to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges. Snow’s library is supported by members of a book club to which she belongs, the Contemporary Studies book club. The club has met weekly at Lakeside Presbyterian Church for the last 40 years.
“Carnegie built over 2,000 libraries throughout the United States years ago,” said Snow, alluding to the historic effort by millionaire industrialist Andrew Carnegie to fund new libraries in cities across America during the nineteenth century. “The goal of the Free Little Library project has been to install that many or more. We figured it would take over two years to accomplish that, which would be the summer of 2013. But that goal was surpassed this month.”
Mary Linda Sather knows Snow through the book club.
“When Joetta came to our book group and told us that she had (bought) the
Little Library I was just thrilled. I thought it was a marvelous idea and I can see it as a wonderful way to build community even though people might be a little hesitant to go walking in someone else’s yard and also just about the idea of being able to share books,” said Sather.
The library book containers can be built by hand at home in any form, or may be purchased through the organization’s website with some assembly required. Snow chose to purchase a pre-built container from the website, which offers a number of styles from which to choose. She learned from the packaging materials that an Amish farmer made her Little Library out of reclaimed barn wood.
“The only requirement is that it be weatherproof and sturdy,” Snow said.
In the Woodland neighborhood, the Otis family has also placed a library in its front yard, at 3802 Allendale Ave. Jon Otis had built it over the winter and installed it in March.
“We try to keep a good mix of adult and kids’ books. We have a lot of kids and families that use it,” Jon said. “We’re hoping that people will read, whether it’s families reading together with their kids or an adult finding a book that they enjoy, we just hope that people will read, that they will see their neighbors there and talk about the library and that they share books. Building community is the ultimate goal.”
The Little Free Library project offers a comprehensive website that discusses everything from how to build a Little Library, to styles of libraries, to safety concerns and more. The website is www.littlefreelibrary.org.