Little Free Library was the inspiration of Todd Bol, who in the fall of 2009 landed on a way to honor his late mother, a book-loving teacher. He built a miniature wooden one-room schoolhouse, mounted it outside his Hudson, Wis., home and stocked it with books. Even on rainy days, friends and neighbors would happen by to make selections, drop off books and remark on the library's cuteness.
Bol, an entrepreneur in international business development, enlisted Rick Brooks, a community outreach specialist in Madison, Wis., to help spread the word. In the last two years, nearly 1,800 library stewards, as Bol calls them, have registered cabinet-size athenaeums in about 45 states and dozens of countries, including Ghana, England and Germany.
Each owner pays $25 to the Little Free Library, a nonprofit organization, for a sign and a number. The group's website features a locater map and photos of people attending grand openings for libraries.
Bol anticipates nearly 3,000 registered libraries by the end of July.
Make no mistake, this is a great idea. I'd love to see thousands more of these. Because the fact is the way austerity and income inequality in this nation is going, the Little Free Libraries are going to be the only ones left.