Take a book, leave a book

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Two Little Free Libraries in Prairie du Chien are part of the 3,000 registered in the world, but there are actually five total little libraries available to the Prairie du Chien public. The five stand on 38640 Golf View Dr., 506 S. Wacouta Ave., inside Hoffman Hall, among the streets southeast of Prairie du Chien High School and in front of the Blackhawk Apartments, pictured above. (Photo by Addison Mumm)

By Addison Mumm

Little Free Libraries started up in Wisconsin in 2009 with Todd Bol of Hudson.

The simple rule of the Little Free Library—take a book, leave a book. Bol built a little, red school house in honor of his mother. He put some books in it and created more for his neighbors who fell in love with it. Rick Brooks of the University of Wisconsin–Madison heard of Bol and his library school houses. With some knowledge of social marketing, Brooks wanted to expand the idea to the world.

As of July 2015, there are now 3,000 Little Free Libraries around the world. Mostly based in the U.S., 70 other countries also have Little Free Libraries.

Bol’s first little, red school house had a sign for “free books,” but if this was the case, there would be no way to sustain the name. The basis of the bird-house-sized libraries is to make literature more available to the masses. Little Free Library, Ltd.’s goal 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 generations.” But to keep a Little Free Library running, people have to contribute as well.

Many tips on how to maintain a Little Free Library are offered at the official site: littlefreelibrary.org.

Even though there are 3,000 registered Little Free Libraries, there are plenty more that aren’t registered. Registering a Little Free Library helps its search-ability and possibly its fan base. There are two in Prairie du Chien that are registered on the Little Free Library’s world map, but five little libraries stand in the Prairie du Chien area total (one is in Bridgeport). There is also one in Elkader.

To register, become a Little Free Library steward, figure out how to build your own library or donate to the cause, visit littlefreelibrary.org.

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