- Associated Press - Monday, June 22, 2015

WAHPETON, N.D. (AP) - The Little Free Library movement, started in 2010 in Wisconsin, has made its way to Wahpeton.

The free book exchange system started when Todd Bol built a model of a one-room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former teacher who loved reading. He filled it with books, put it on a post in his front yard and watched what happened. Neighbors and friends loved the idea so he built more and gave them away, each with a sign stating “Free Books.”

He and Rich Brooks, University of Wisconsin Madison, realized there were opportunities with the libraries - promote literacy and a love of reading, and spark a sense of community with such a unique way of sharing. The first Little Free Library was installed along a bike path outside Hudson, Wisconsin, behind an art gallery and cafe in the summer of 2010.

In five years, more than 25,000 Little Free Libraries have been created and installed around the world and can be found in neighborhoods, coffee shops, parks and in rural communities.

Two of these are located in Wahpeton - one in the 600 block of Third Street North and one in the 400 block of Eighth Street North, the Wahpeton Daily News (http://bit.ly/1Ggefm6 ) reported.

Greta Guck, library director at Leach Public Library, put her Little Free Library in front of her house just last month and is excited about the movement.

“It was on my radar, I had heard about it a few years ago, but was always an apartment dweller, until last year,” she said.

Her father, a woodworker, had made Little Free Libraries for two of her sisters, in Minneapolis and Perham, Minnesota, about two years ago. Greta purchased a home in Wahpeton and was ready for one of her own.

Her Little Free Library has doors on either side with children’s books on one side and adult books on the other. It looks like a miniature version of her home on Third Street North.

“It has roof shingles, I just love it. Everyone is different,” she said.

The movement’s website, www.littlefreelibrary.org, has a wealth of information and resources, as well as a link to their FLICKR photo album, where those who register with the non-profit can upload photos of their Little Free Libraries and mark them on a map, as well as share the story of it.

To stock her library, Guck purchased books from Leach Library’s free-will book sale corner.

“We always have books for sale, we have tons of books,” she said, encouraging others who are interested to stop in and browse the selection.

Returning a book to the Little Free Library you took it from is not expected, but instead, stewards ask that you leave another book in its place - take a book, leave a book, is the movement’s motto.

Little Free Library books should be appropriate for all ages, but can be separated by children’s, teens and adult titles.

Guck encourages anyone interested in Little Free Libraries to stop in and talk to her.

“I can help people if they want to set up their own, I can give ideas, resources on where to find books,” she said.

The city of Wahpeton has no ordinance prohibiting installing Little Free Libraries on your own property. Check the Little Free Library website for guidance on how to install your own.

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Information from: Wahpeton Daily News, http://www.wahpetondailynews.com

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