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Simple Idea Spread Worldwide In 5 Years
My wife’s cousin is an entrepreneurial sort of guy who enjoys
helping others. In 2009 he built a mailbox-sized wood
structure, decorated it to look like a miniature library, and
placed it on a post in front of his Hudson, Wis. home. Inside
were a few books that people
could borrow and return at
their leisure. It was Todd
Bol’s special tribute to his
Mom, who’d been a teacher.
The next spring, when Bol
and his family held a garage
sale, people who came to
rummage through stuff for
sale were intrigued by his
“Little Free Library” (LFL), especially the idea of borrowing
a book and returning it later.
Bol says he had no visions of worldwide acceptance when
he placed that fi rst LFL in front of his house. It just seemed to
him like a good idea to honor his mother and bring neighbors,
adults and kids together into something meaningful. He soon
teamed with Rick Brooks of the University of Wisconsin-
Madison with a goal to build, number and place 2,500 LFLs.
In 2012 the LFL organization was offi cially registered as a
non-profi t and its reach spread like wildfi re. By 2015 the
organization had registered 25,000 Little Free Libraries in
50 states and 70 countries.
The idea has become a worldwide phenomenon, and Bol
says in 2014 alone about 36 million books were exchanged
in LFLs. The organization is supported by the sale of 22
different LFL kits priced from $175 to $350. They’re made
locally by LFL staff, local woodworkers and can also be built
by anyone who builds an LFL. A 14-person staff runs the
operation, still in Hudson, Wis.
Bol says he’s especially pleased that an idea so small, with
such good intentions, has gained so much notoriety. LFL.
org registers every LFL built and maintains a registry on its
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Little Free Library,
Ltd., 573 Co. Rd. A, Suite 106, Hudson, Wis. 54016 (ph 715
690-2488; www.littlefreelibrary.org).
Lorn Manthey, Contributing Editor

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2015 - Volume #39, Issue #3