You see them. But, you kind of don’t. “Libraries-on-a-stick” in and around Alexandria.
Formally, they’re called Little Free Libraries. Todd Bol, a native Minnesotan living in Wisconsin, came up with the idea–build a small hut, put it in your front yard, and fill it with books for anyone to take. Like this one in Alexandria’s Ridgewood neighborhood.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Todd’s brainchild and Little Free Libraries are found across the U.S. and in more than 80 other countries. Some of the public bookshelves are officially registered at littlefreelibrary.org which has a map where they can be found.
Kevin Mahoney of Alexandria built a number of them including this cutie which may have been the first one in Alex. He put up this guy about six years ago near Lake Winona.
The United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties placed six in the area a couple of years ago. They are stocked with books for kids.
Here’s another colorful one on the bike trail just off of Carlos Drive.
Douglas County Social Service workers may soon be peeking into this one across the street from First Lutheran Church.
If you’re near Lake Bergen, check out this Little Free Library, and the Little Free Picnic Table and Little Free Bench behind it.
Don’t get the wrong idea. Big Free Libraries are cool, too.
But, there are definite advantages to patronizing the mini-me’s:
+ You never have to fight lines at the checkout desk.
+ You don’t have Big Free Librarians shushing you.
+ You don’t have to find space for a Big Free Library Card in your Big Obese Wallet.
On the other hand, at a Little Free Library you miss out on the heady rush of the Dewey Decimal System.
And, while sifting through books outdoors, you always run the risk of being flashed an inappropriate gesture by a squirrel.
This summer, when you’re ferrying the kids to this practice or that event, pull over and do a little business with one of the delightful Little Free Libraries in West Central Minnesota.
Take a book. Share a book. It’s for everybody!