Little Free Library

History of the Little Free Library Program

In 2009 Todd Bol came up with an idea to remember his mother, a teacher who had loved books and encouraged people to read. At his home in Hudson, Wisc., he built a box, made it waterproof and filled it with books. It looked like a miniature one-room schoolhouse, with a sign underneath that said “Free Book Exchange.” Bol put it on a post outside of his house and invited neighbors to take a book, and return a book.

That’s when something happened Bol says he never could have imagined.

“People of all ages, men, women, kids came up and just loved the library,” he said. “They got excited and they started coming up to me saying, ‘I’ll build one, do you need books?’”

The idea has mushroomed. Bol now encourages people to visit his website,, for suggestions on how to build their own library.

As of November 2016, there are more than 50,000 registered Little Free Library book exchanges in all 50 U.S. states and over 70 countries around the world.