Little Free Libraries: A Wisconsin Idea

Helen Klebesadel's Little Free LibraryEverybody loves the Little Free Library, a grassroots project begun by Wisconsin residents Rick Brooks and Todd Bol to promote literacy and community.

In case you haven’t yet heard of the project, its name says it all: the libraries are boxes, most constructed of wood and Plexiglas, that hold around 20 books. Much like the informal “take a book, leave a book” collections found in workplaces, churches and coffee shops, Little Free Libraries allow you and your neighbors to borrow and share books on the honor system. Volunteers raise the money to build and install them, and then oversee the book collection and maintenance.

Brooks and Bol began the Little Free Libraries movement in Hudson and Madison in 2009, and their operation is spreading rapidly, with libraries in Prairie du Chien, Eau Claire and Algoma, and as far away as Portland, Oregon, and New Orleans, Louisiana. You can find them both indoors and outdoors, at businesses, non-profits or even in your neighbor’s front yard.

Through December, you can visit a special exhibit featuring one-of-a-kind models, painted and decorated by Wisconsin artists. Ten artists donated their talents to create these artful libraries, with sales funding Little Free Library installations in Dane County and throughout the state. Above right is Madison artist Helen Klebesadel‘s library, “It Is Always the Season To Read.”

Find out how you can install a Little Free Library in your neighborhood, or purchase one of the ten utilitarian works of art on exhibit at Story Pottery in Mineral Point, by visiting


One Response to Little Free Libraries: A Wisconsin Idea

  1. Ron says:

    This is such a neat idea. My neighbors put up a Little Free Library right across the street.

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