January 10, 2014
The Little Free Library is now up and running in Galion thanks to Kiwanis club. Last month several Kiwanis club members of Galion placed the newly built structure outside of the YMCA building.
Little Free Libraries were started in 2009 by a man by the name of Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin. At that time he built a model of a one room school house as a tribute to his mother who was a school teacher who loved reading. He filled the structure with books of his and placed it out on a pole in his front yard. His neighbors loved it and the idea soon began to take off. He began to build more structures and in 2010 the name “Little Free Library” was given to these structures. In 2011 the project had brought national media attention to it. At the time there were over 400 of the structures around the country so the founders knew it was time to form an independent organization.
In 2012 the Little Free Library was officially established as a Wisconsin nonprofit corporation with a board of directors. In September of that year the Internal Revenue Service granted tax-exempt status. Kiwanis member Jim Hoover described the goal of the library as follows. “It is a gathering place where people visiting the park area can share their favorite literature and stories. They do this by taking a book or returning a book. It does not have to be the same book.”
The mission statement for the Little Free Libraries is “To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide. And to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.” Hoover said the policy for the books in the library is that books should be for general reading for both adults and children and that if you leave a book in the library, you should not expect to get it back. He also had the following to say which pertains to the advantage of the library. “A person traveling could get a book, for example, in Ohio and read it while riding to California. When finished with the book, the person could deposit that book in a library in California”. There are many Little Free Libraries throughout the United States and by going to their website at http://littlefreelibrary.org/ one can see the coordinates of all the libraries registered.
The Little Free Library outside of the YMCA is a weather proof structure that requires very little maintenance and occasional repair. One can either leave a book; take a book, or both. As of this month the estimated number of Little Free Libraries in the world is between 10,000 and 12,000 with thousands of more being built. The library promotes reading for children, literacy for adults and libraries around the world.