Little Free Libraries popping up around metro 

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Maybe you’ve seen the brightly colored boxes full of books popping up like wild roses around the metro. Little Free Libraries are a national trend that have brought neighbors together and fostered repurposing in several communities.

It all started in 2009 by Todd Bol of Wisconsin to honor his mother, a schoolteacher. He created the first library, simply a box on a post, and the idea took off from there. The Little Free Library at NW 28th St. and Venice Boulevard in the Cleveland neighborhood offers a convenient bench to sit on while you read. It offers a selection of mysteries, novels and more. This library isn’t going anywhere; it is rock solid, made of brick with lights on top for nighttime browsing, and the location — a large median with a canopy of trees overhead — is perfect for reading.

Another free library can be found in the Plaza District at the southwest corner of Blackwelder Avenue and 16th Street. It’s a screaming-yellow rectangular structure. You can grab a book and sit at one of the outdoor cafes with a caffè latte or a glass of wine.

On the 700 block of NW 24th St. sits a wooden library with a frosted door showcasing the array of books inside. The amount of children’s books there are reflective of the number of children in the area.

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A private house at 417 NW 25th St. has a fairy-tale atmosphere with a library on its front porch.

“We go a bit farther than the library; we include games for kids, sidewalk chalk — it’s okay to draw on my sidewalk — arts and crafts items and a plastic bin containing canned and packaged food for those in need,” said library organizer and homeowner Emmah Hackbarth.

“There haven’t been any problems with the free library on the porch. The only problem I encounter is when people don’t know whether they’re allowed to come up and take a book.” The house also includes a bonus for more introspective individuals: a peaceful walking labyrinth in the backyard that is open to the public.

Information on how to make or purchase a Little Free Library stand and register your library and hints and tips on getting started can be found at littlefreelibrary.org.

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Angela Botzer

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