Todd Bol, a member of Rotary Clubs International, started Little Free Libraries in 2009. Taking inspiration from Miss Lutie Stearns, a librarian who brought books to nearly 1400 locations through “traveling little libraries”, Bol developed the idea for “Take a book, leave a book” collections in coffee shops and public spaces. He saw them as a way to promote literacy and a love of reading and build a sense of community as people shared skills, creativity and wisdom across generations. The Little Free Library Foundation now has over 50,000 Little Free Libraries sharing 36,500,000 books a year.
In 2014, Fontana Regional Library, in cooperation with Friends of the Library groups, Read2Me, and many other community members, began to place Little Free Libraries (all registered with The Little Free Library Foundation) in our own communities. The first was in Franklin Town Hall. There are now Little Free Libraries located in several communities through our three counties.
The latest Little Free Libraries were opened on November 14th at the Otto Community Development Organization and the Mulberry United Methodist Church in Otto. The Otto little libraries, built by the 2016 Franklin High School Carpentry Class under the guidance of Mr. Rick Rogers, were inspired by the architecture of the Macon County Public Library. The Mulberry Methodist Church little library is in honor of Addie Williams, who, at 102 years of age, was on hand for the opening of the library. Thanks go out to all of the volunteers who made the little libraries possible, with special thanks to Sherry Miller, Roy and Ann McClure, and Sherron Geiger. The little libraries will be stocked with books collected by members of the Otto community, books donated to the Friends of the Macon County Library, and children’s books donated to Read2Me. Everyone is encouraged to use the Little Free Libraries to find something to read, where they can “take a book and return a book.”