Little Free Libraries

Todd Bol and Rick Brooks, with their Little Library

Todd Bol’s mother, a book lover, died a decade ago. Two years ago, to honor her memory, Bol built a miniature library, filled it with books, and set it in his front yard in Huron, Wis.  He and his friend, Rick Brooks, an outreach program manager at the University of Wisconsin, thought the idea could grow.  It has.  Bol and Brooks estimate there are 300 to 400 little libraries in 24 states and 8 countries.  Their website,, has plans for people who want to build their own, places to purchase the small structures, and a map to track their locations.

“Take a book, leave a book,” is the operating principle.  Right now, a group of Wisconsin prison inmates is building libraries for new communities.  In New Orleans, Bol plans to make libraries out of debris left by Hurricane Katrina.  In El Paso, Texas, an elementary school where illiteracy was a problem now has two Little Libraries.  Lisa Lopez, the school librarian, says books are circulating “like crazy.”

“People tell us over and over, there’s something about the physical feel about the book in your hands,” Bol says. “It has meaning. There’s a spirit that can’t be found electronically.”

from an article in USA Today:

6 thoughts on “Little Free Libraries

  1. What a grand idea. I work in a long term care facility and think this would be a wonderful project for some of my residents: those who like to do workworking, and those who enjoy reading! Thanks for sharing.


  2. In Coloma, California there is a thousand acre ranch that was purchased by the government as a recreation area. In the center, near the American River is an old cabin that was part of a movie set, directed by Michael Landon’s son. Inside the cabin is a shelf of books. Someone pinned a paper sign that says, “Hayduke Library.” Whenever I ride there I slip a book into my pack or saddlebag to leave. There are always different books there so I definately consider this a little library.


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