Co-founder of Little Free Libraries is coming to Iowa City

Little Free Libraries, the tiny repositories of books that have popped up in neighborhoods across the country, encouraging neighbors or passersby to take a book or leave a book, have come to the Iowa City area. Next week, Todd Bol, co-founder of the program, will visit Iowa City and participate in two events designed to help expand local participation in the project.

On Wednesday, Nov. 7, the public is invited to meet with Bol at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., where he will share information on the history of the project, provide information on how to expand the Little Free Libraries program throughout the Iowa City area and present the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization with four Little Free Libraries to be installed throughout Johnson County. Details about community partnerships and funding opportunities to help build the program here will also be presented.

The following evening, on Thursday, Nov. 8, the public will be offered an opportunity to work with Bol to construct  a Little Free Library.  The event is at 6:30 p.m. at the City’s Eastside Recycling Education Center, 2401 Scott Blvd.  A limited number of official Little Free Library kits will be available for sale for the event for $250. Kits may also be ordered through the Little Free Libraries website, but online orders will include an additional $50 shipping fee. At the demonstration on Thursday, Bol will show how to assemble the kits, and participants can either work along with him, or just watch and learn how to build their own later. Friends of Historic Preservation will also be at the Build Workshop to distribute discount coupons for materials from the Salvage Barn that can be used to construct a Little Free Library.  Space for the event is limited, so those interested are encouraged to register. To register for the event and/or to reserve a Little Free Library kit, click here: 

The Little Free Library project began three years ago, when Bol, of Hudson, Wis., came up with the idea as a way to remember his mother, a teacher who loved books and inspired others to read. He built the first little library in the shape of a one-room schoolhouse, filled it with books, hung a sign on the exterior that read, “Free Book Exchange,” and affixed it to a post outside of his house. Interest has spread like wildfire. Today, there are Little Free Libraries in 40 states and 20 countries, with more being constructed and installed every day.

The Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature has partnered with Little Free Libraries to build and support the program in the Iowa City community. The City of Iowa City has committed funds through a Program for Improving Neighborhoods (PIN) grant program to help get the program started in the Longfellow, Grant Wood, Goosetown, Northside, Melrose, and Miller-Orchard neighborhoods. Next week’s events are sponsored by the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, City of Iowa City, and Iowa City Public Library.

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