How the ‘Little Free Library’ got started

Daybreak

(WYTV) – Who started those little libraries? Those tiny bookshelves, maybe built into its own little house where you take a book or leave a book?

Todd Bol. He lived in Hudson, Wisconsin and the year his mother died — 2009 — he built a box shaped like a little red schoolhouse and set it on a post in his yard.

He wanted to honor his mom, who had been a school teacher. Bol himself was a former school teacher and entrepreneur.

Bol and a friend began to build the boxes and give them away and he started the nonprofit Little Free Library.

The idea took hold. You can find these tiny libraries on front lawns, in parks, at subway stops, and on and on.

People place books in them and take books away — it’s an easy exchange.

Today, the tiny libraries stand in 50 states and 88 countries, from hospitals in Ireland to prisons in Wisconsin, and police stations in Los Angeles. One stands outside of a school in Sudan and another where reindeer herders live in Siberia.

Todd Bol died at age 62 in October 2018 of pancreatic cancer, but not before 75,000 Little Free Library boxes had been created and the movement had spread worldwide. It now numbers 100,000 boxes.

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