A Little Big Impact

A few years ago, it was difficult to ignore the sudden emergence of small outdoor stands filled with books popping up across Evansville. These tiny kiosks are known as Little Free Libraries and are a part of an organization bearing the same name.

In 2009, Todd H. Bol started the international nonprofit (that now has more than 80,000 libraries) to increase community access to books. The stands are placed by homeowners or organizations and are open 24 hours a day, operating through book exchanges that encourage readers to take a book and leave some behind.

“Literacy exists all the time,” says Evansville Day School librarian Sarah Brooks. “You can get to the library on a Saturday at 10 p.m. if you need to.”

Just over a year ago, Evansville Day School started its little free library during an experiential education week. Brooks, the Little Free Library steward, believes the project makes reading exciting and accessible.

“They’re all so different,” says Brooks. “The designs are so intricate on some of them, and some of them are very simple.”

In addition to the one on North Green River Road, Evansville is home to seven more little free libraries, with another five in Newburgh, Indiana. Built in July 2016, Kristin Ehmen’s renovated tea crate library on South Spring Street was the first in Evansville and has since become a neighborhood landmark.

“The most rewarding part of having a little free library is sharing our love of reading,” says Ehmen. “We are a family of readers and are grateful to share our favorite books with our neighbors.”

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