Meeting scheduled on Little Libraries

Published 9:27 am Friday, October 25, 2013

A trio of Austin groups are teaming up to spread the word about an idea to boost literacy and reading in Austin.

The Austin Public Library, Vision 2020’s Community Pride & Spirit Committee and the Freeborn-Mower Habitat for Humanity are hosting meetings on little free library’s at noon and 5 p.m. Oct. 28 in the library’s small meeting room.

The idea first sparked in Austin when Gretchen Erickson; her husband, Ted Hinchcliffe; and their twin children put a little free library on their yard at 900 Fourth St. SW near Skinner’s Hill. The little library, which resembles a blend of birdhouse and mailbox, houses an assortment of books for people of all ages that anyone is free to borrow and return.

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Laura Helle, director of creative vision for Vision 2020, described the little free library as an idea right in line with the goals of Vision 2020. The Community Pride and Spirit Committee even discussed the libraries early on, but the idea was set aside until Helle recently saw a picture of Erickson’s library on Facebook.

The little free libraries started in 2009 in Hudson, Wis., when Todd Bol built one to resemble a school house in honor of his mother, a former teacher who loved reading. Bol filled it with books and posted it in his front lawn to the delight of neighbors and friends who came to borrow the books. The idea exploded to thousands of similar free libraries around the world and spawning a Little Free Library nonprofit and the website, www.littlefree    There will be about 10,000 to 12,000 little free libraries around the world by January of next year, according to the site.

For more information, call Vision 2020 officials at 507-437-3448.