LOCATIONS THROUGHOUT THE WESTERN SUBURBS DELIVER BOTH BOOKS & SMILES
Well, here we sit, half the year over and still void of many of the normal fun seasonal activities. I don’t know about you, but I have been trying to fill up my free time by finally getting around to piles of books I have been wanting to read. Along with that, I find myself taking many lengthy walks to just get out more.
It was on one of these walks that I came across this interesting mini-house on a post at the edge of someone’s yard. Too big to be a bird house, I peered in to find a collection of books. The sign attached invited me to take a book and perhaps donate one. What a cute idea, I thought. A neighborhood book exchange. Come to find out, this house is part of a worldwide movement called Little Free Libraries.
Little Free Libraries is a nonprofit organization whose home office is in Hudson, Wisconsin but has the largest grassroots book-sharing network in the world. Their mission is to build stronger communities and improve literacy. Anyone interested in creating a neighborhood free library is encouraged to do so and assisted with a multitude of videos, blueprints and tips on their website. Search their map, and you will find a number of these little libraries scattered all over our western suburbs.
“I actually have two Little Free Libraries side by side,” says Geneva resident, Kim Chismark. “One is situated lower and contains only children’s books.” Charter members have fun with creating unique libraries from designing it to look like their home, an English phonebooth, a Frank Lloyd Wright design, or using materials that are meaningful to them, adding solar lighting and signage. Others have opted to just simply purchase a library from the Little Free Library site, paint it and post it.
Many members enjoy expanding their library services. “There may or may not be a geocache located here,” says Elburn resident, Jenny Wold, who also has a Facebook page for her library to put out author and book related news. Naperville’s Dayna Bonebrake created a Facebook page and Instagram site as well for her library and offers hand-made bookmarks for her patrons. “I included a guestbook too,” says Dayna. “It is a fun bit of written history for our library.”
For something new to do, perhaps it would be fun to take your kids and an armful of used books on a neighborhood “hunt” for new reading material. Interested in finding a Little Free Library near you or building one of your own? Visit the website today to learn how www.littlefreelibrary.org.
Pictured is Little Free Library
#62386 located in historic Geneva.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Mindy Kyle is passionate about helping people discover what brings them joy and to live a full, healthy and happy life. She has her Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from DePaul University and is a veteran of Chicago’s theater and commercial world as well as a graduate of the Second City Improv School. Mindy lives in Naperville with her husband, three children and the cutest dog in the land.