The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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November 9, 2013

A 'little' literary movement

CLINTON — Clinton residents who have devoured books for years are using their collections of books to build the community and connect Clinton to a worldwide movement of reading enthusiasts.

Outside Ines and Pedro Becerra's home at 1120 Sweet Briar Lane, the family raised a Little Free Library filled with rows of children's books open for anyone in the community to take and return books.

After seeing a news report about Little Free Libraries, a movement that started four years ago in Wisconsin, Ines immediately went online to learn how she could bring the take a book, return a book project to Clinton.

"We have so many books. I used to give them away and you don't want to throw books away. I hope it will have a good impact on Clinton," Ines said. "I think through reading you can learn so much."

Diane Underwood, an avid reader who lives at 711 Fifth Ave. South, also was inspired to establish a Little Free Library from a news report.

"I thought I would love that, it's so marvelous," Underwood said. "Books are meant to be read and shared."

The Little Free Library movement was started in 2009 by Todd Bol, of Hudson, Wis., and Rick Brooks, of Madison, Wis. Bol built a model of a one-room school house as a tribute to his mother, a former teacher with a love for reading.

Bol and Brooks put together the strategies that led to other Little Free Libraries being installed in other states and communities.

Their goal was to see 2,510 Little Free Libraries built across the country — as many as Andrew Carnegie built. They reached this goal in August 2012.

By January 2014, the total number of registered Little Free Libraries worldwide is conservatively estimated to be between 10,000 and 12,000, with thousands more being built.

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