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Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013

Heroes of the Week: Little Free Library Volunteers

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Launched in 2009 by Hudson, Wis., resident Todd Bol, Little Free Libraries are boxes filled with all types of books that serve to foster the sharing of literature and are rooted in a “take a book, return a book” honor system. Each library is built with recycled materials by community members and volunteers, and a network of several thousand neighborhood Little Free Library Steward volunteers help keep the libraries maintained. The nonprofit accomplished its original goal of building 2,510 free libraries in August 2012—matching Andrew Carnegie’s grand total—and conservatively estimates that by January 2014, between 10,000-12,000 will be available, with thousands more in the making. Greater Milwaukee already has more than 50 Little Free Libraries in use.

“All of our staff, board members and volunteers are essential to our survival,” says Megan Hanson, Little Free Library’s library development specialist, “and the Stewards are the backbone of the Little Free Library movement.”

In addition, Bol stated in an American Profile interview, “People feel like it’s a gift to the neighborhood. I’ve actually seen people hug the library.”

Volunteers are vital to Little Free Library and help ensure the continued sharing of literature within Wisconsin and beyond. Currently, the nonprofit is looking for additional volunteers to help with woodworking, painting, administration and mapping. Donations to the GIFT Fund—which helps get libraries into the hands of folks and communities who cannot afford books—are especially appreciated. Seeking out local library locations or interested in building a Little Free Library in your neighborhood? Check out littlefreelibrary.org or facebook.com/LittleFreeLibrary for more information.

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