Coming soon to your block: little free libraries

A library from the Little Free Library website. Photo courtesy Bookbinder. 

The Little Free Library movement, which officially started in 2009, is catching fire in Kansas City, and as the temperatures rise this year, expect to see the dollhouse-like libraries popping up very near to you.

(The Midtown KC Post will map little libraries in Midtown, so send us information and we’ll attempt to keep the map up to date).

Little Free Libraries trace their origin to two men.

“In the beginning –2009 –Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading.  He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard.  His neighbors and friends loved it.  He built several more and gave them away.  Each one had a sign that said FREE BOOKS,” the Little Free Library website says.

Another fellow, Rick Brooks of Madison, met Bol and the two launched what’s now become a national movement.

The Penn Valley Friends library. Photo courtesy BookusBinder

The Little Local Library website has a map of official little libraries, including one at 4405 Gillham Road, maintained Penn Valley Friends Meeting (Quakers).

“Everyone who attends meeting here is free to add books to the little library. It contains books for both children and adults,” the group writes on the Little Library website.

A little llbrary awaiting paint will soon be installed in Squire Park.

A new push for adding more libraries to more local neighborhoods started when Leslie Scott heard a news story on KCUR Radio about the little libraries. Scott thought the idea was perfect for Midtown. She thought about it for a year, and just before Thanksgiving, she used the social networking tool NextDoor to invite people to a meeting in Kansas City.

The meeting proved there is interest. Little libraries are now in development in Valentine, Squire Park and Hyde Park, and maybe other parts of Midtown. Scott showed off a library that’s finished except for paint and will be installed in Squire Park as soon as the weather cooperates.

Scott says she knows of 5 or 6 libraries in development right now. Although she convened the meeting that got some going, she hopes the little libraries will take off on their own in Midtown.

“People don’t have to go through me. I hope it will become completely organic and go viral.

I really want people to think about how to collaborate with their neighbors. That’s the way to build community.”

She also hopes the free books will start to be available in parts of town where people may have trouble getting to the “regular” library.

Contact Leslie Scott to get involved. lscott1967@yahoo.com816.612.1132)