Every once in a while we are so overwhelmed by someone's enthusiasm that we want to tell the world about it. And that, fellow Librarians, is what has happened to us regarding the work of Antoinette Ashong in Ghana. Like the colors of the rainbow, the Little Free Libraries she has created are just beginning to dazzle the children and adults of an entire country. We'll try to stay on top of this story, but in the mea
Watch this short video- Readin' Fever from Abraham Lincoln Elementary School and teacher, playwright, author and videographer Marc Kornblatt. Then show it to your kids' school. Then try to forget the tune and words and fun! (Hint: you can't!)
One can't help being moved by just about everything associated with this story--the idea, the place, the people and the memories prompted by a Little Free Library to honor "a beautiful young man." First, the setting: Freedom Park in Prescott, Wisconsin, on a bluff overlooking the confluence of the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers. Benjamin Stassen's mother Helen, a librarian, and his father Jay, an attorney, found what seemed like a perfect way to honor their son, a college student who died an untimely death at the age of 21.
A story in thePrescott Journal used these words, "The couple wanted to honor and celebrate their son's life in positive ways that carried his spirit forward." They thought he would have loved the idea of a Little Library to promote the exchange of free books. Because they endowed Benjamin's Books on the grounds of the Freedom Park and the Great River Road Learning Center, visitors to the park can now share some of the books that Benjamin might have loved. The plaque on the Library reads "In Memory of Benjamin Curry Stassen--A Great Reader. Forever Loving You...Mom, Dad and Peter," with a peace symbol. The symbol is "one he often wore and it describes his nature," his parents said. "We also want peace for him now."
Friends of Freedom Park are already pleased at the continuing usage of the Little Library, and encourage children and adults to enjoy--and add--books themselves. The Friends describe Helen and Jay's gift as a wonderful addition to the park. To learn more about the education and cultural programs on nature and the environment at Great River Road Learning Center, see www.freedompark.org
We've had some wonderful stories lately from small towns as well as metropolitan areas. WRITER AUDREY KLETSCHER HELBLING of Minnesota Prairie Roots blog is a good example. She "grew up in a Little House on the Prairie. Really," she writes." Her tiny childhood home outside of Vesta didn’t have a bathroom or, for a long time, a telephone. On the family’s dairy farm, Audrey walked beans, picked rock, fed calves and cows, and scooped manure."
In her story about a Little Free Library in Faribault, MN, she writes about Vesta, too, and offers this action line: I’D LIKE TO CHALLENGE the residents of Vesta to start a Little Free Library. How about in or near the Vesta Cafe? Make my dream of a library in my hometown come true. I’ll even bring some books for the library the next time I’m “back home.” There's more.
Marshall Cook, a writing coach and retired professor at the UW-Madison, has shared a photo and story of the Little Library on Felton Place (his front yard) in his newsletter for writers called Extra Innings. Professor Cook fills his newsletter with excellent tips, links and instruction as well as quotes and (ahem...) jokes. The Library that he and his wife Ellen have looks vaguely similar to our new logo. Have a look. But you won't find my newest favorite book there any more. I got it, read it and passed it on already. It's called Hometown Wisconsin. Now I understand why Marshall loves his Library so much. He understands what community and neighbors are all about.
Take me to your lighthouse!
Ever wonder how lighthouse keepers (not the same as light housekeepers, by the way) got their books? Blogger Susan Gaylord, who writes about handmade books, authors, art and writing, shows us some history we didn't know about right here. Readers of her blog have also checked out Little Free Libraries in droves. Thanks, Susan. You've got loads of fans!
Neighborhood Little Library Builders take note: If you need inspiration for your Little Library or any other kind of bookshelf, look at the Bookshelf Blog. Writer Alex Johnson collects the most elegant and fascinating bookshelf ideas we've ever seen. We are honored to have been included on his blog...and expect great things from our UK Little Library colleagues. Why limit yourself to a design someone else has already made?
Guess which websites are referringl the most people to us. The most prolific referral source for Little Libraries on the web is not Google or even Facebook so far; it's Neatorama! Ever seen it? Check it out here, then show our fans that their positive reviews have made a BIG difference in spreading the Little Free Library message. Try: Thanks, fanmakers!
Blogistas and Book Lovers Spread the Word
We're finding lots (and LOTS!) of blogs where book lovers and librarians spread the word about Little Libraries. You know what? People actually do read books these days, and talk about them. Do a Google search for Little Free Libraries and you'll see places like: BooksnStories , websites for library systems, publishers and authors who think Little Libraries are--to use their own words-- cute, adorable, neat, heartwarming, friendly and fantastic.
Writer Rebecca Behrens: " I'm in love with Little Free Libraries--a grassroots effort to promote literacy and community. I'm also proud that it's from my home state (and that my hometown is the one place where you can pop in a shop and buy a prefab Little Free Library).
Dr. Benjamin Farrow and his colleagues seem to be happy about this...
How can you resist this group? I certainly can't. They have given my dental situation a whole new look, not to mention my opinion of fine oral caregivers. We are thrilled that Monroe Family Dental has been a Little Library pioneer. You'll see some more photos of the Monroe Family Dental Library on the Facebook Little Free Library page. Take a look!