In 2009, Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one-room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother and former schoolteacher who loved reading. He filled the miniature school with books and invited neighbors to take one and add a book in return. Rick Brooks, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, saw the house and connected with Bol to create the Little Free Library program, which goes by the tagline “Take a Book, Return a Book.”
Now crafty, colorful little libraries are popping up on front lawns all over the country, including Denver. Park Hill has eight little libraries and Stapleton has one. Gabrielle Rohwer at 7809 E. 28th Ave. started her library after hearing an NPR story about the idea a year ago. She repurposed a bathroom cabinet into a three-shelved library and stocks a variety of genres for adults and kids. She tries to feature local authors and has “Little Free Library, Stapleton Author” labels available for people to add. She enjoys watching the turnover of books. Why Do Men Fall Asleep After Sex? is the most interesting book to make it into the box so far. “Actually, someone picked it up pretty quickly,” she says and laughs.
Phoebe Schroeder at 1390 Eudora says her Little Free Library is her way of giving back to the community. As a birthday present to Phoebe, her dad built a replica of their family barn, which burned down a couple of years ago. He used scraps of leftover materials from the barn to build the library. Although Schroeder will be moving out of Mayfair, the library will stay. “It didn’t feel right taking it with us because it really does belong in the neighborhood.” She has received notes from several neighbors thanking her for the library.
To learn more about Little Free Libraries or register your library, visit littlefreelibrary.org.