Take a Book, Return a Book

The little box full of books popped up at the town dock in Port Washington during the late summer, another came to Stony Brook Village in October. Known as the Little Free Library each box is part of a larger movement, encouraging reading around the world.

It started in 2009 when Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin built a model one-room schoolhouse, filled it with books and put it on a post in his yard. His neighbors loved sharing the books, leaving one, taking another and asked him to build more. So, he did, giving them away as he built them. Rick Brooks of the University of Wisconsin-Madison came across one and together the two saw the potential to achieve a wide range of goals for the common good.

As of January 2014, there were more than 15,000 Little Libraries around the world. An estimated 1.6 million books donated and borrowed through Little Free Libraries.

The Little Free Library in its most basic form is a wooden box about the size of a birdhouse. But there are many versions some look like miniature houses or buildings. One in Seattle looks like a telephone booth.

Girl School Troop 413 built Port Washington’s Little Library as a community project. The Stony Brook one is a replica of the historic post office. The Ward Melville Heritage Organization asked wood carver, Ron Swanson to build it for the inner court of the village.

The books are free, no library card required, and often are given by neighbors, bookstores and authors.