The city of Worthing was recently issued a grant by the Lennox Area Community Fund for one Little Free Library. Before the grant was awarded, the need for Little Libraries had been discussed by members of the community.
Without any grants or any cost to the city, three additional libraries were donated. The three were sponsored by Southtown Baptist Church. Those three libraries have already been installed and are being used. One is located near the picnic shelter at the Recreational Complex on the south end of Steven Street. The other is located at the City Park on the corner of Beck and Lily Street. The third is located between the post office and the church. The plan is for a fourth one to be located at the city park across from the school. This is the one that the LACF grant was awarded for, but it has not yet been installed.
The initial books for these libraries came through donations from Reach Literacy and private individuals. Since they have been in use, members of the community have been adding new books to them as well.
Worthing now joins a growing list of communities, that boasts their own Little Free Library. The organization, Little Free Library, is a nonprofit that builds community, inspires readers, and expands book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led little libraries. Through Little Free Library book exchanges, millions of books are exchanged each year, increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.
According to the history on littlefreelibrary.org, it was in 2009, that Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one room schoolhouse. It was a tribute to his mother; she was a teacher who loved to read. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard. His neighbors and friends loved it, so he built several more and gave them away.
UW-Madison’s Rick Brooks (retired from Little Free Library 2014) saw Bol’s do-it-yourself project while they were discussing potential social enterprises. Together, the two saw opportunities to achieve a variety of goals for the common good.
They were inspired by community gift-sharing networks, “take a book, leave a book” collections in coffee shops and public spaces, and most especially by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
Around the turn of the 20th century, Carnegie set a goal to fund the creation of 2,508 free public libraries across the English-speaking world.
That goal inspired Brooks and Bol to set their own goal of surpassing 2,508 Little Free Libraries by the end 2013. They exceeded that goal in August of 2012, a year and a half before their target date.
By 2010, the name Little Free Library was established and the purpose of these Little Free Library book exchanges became clear: to share good books and bring communities together.
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