The Friends of the Library are partnering with Central Gardens of North Iowa to create a Little Free Library (LFL) in Clear Lake.
A Little Free Library is a small, free-standing structure that houses a collection of books available for free exchange. Persons may take and/or donate books to the Little Free Library. The LFL movement began in Wisconsin several years ago and now has become a nationwide phenomenon with the purposes of strengthening a sense of community and increasing literacy.
For the past several months Nick Chizek, a Clear Lake High School senior, has worked with Central Gardens personnel to design and construct a Little Free Library for the gardens as his Eagle Scout project. The “grand opening” of our LFL will take place during October. The Friends of the Library will provide the initial book collection featuring used books appealing to a variety of interests and age levels. The structure was designed with two shelves — one for youth books and one with titles for adult readers. As users “take a book – leave a book,” the collection will perpetuate itself.
The LFL movement began in Hudson, Wis., in 2009. Co-founders are Todd Bol, a skilled carpenter and international businessman and Rick Brooks, a community outreach worker for the University of Wisconsin. Sources of inspiration for the LFL founders included Andrew Carnegie’s support of 2,509 free libraries around the turn of the 20th century, the heroic achievements of Miss Lutie Stearns who delivered “little traveling libraries” to nearly 1,400 Wisconsin locations between 1895 and 1914 and “take a book – leave a book” collections in coffee shops and other public places.
There are now more than 10,000 LFLs in the United States and the concept has also spread to several foreign countries. These convenient and easy to use structures promote reading for children, literacy for adults and community involvement. Each LFL is unique and representative of the creativity of the volunteers who build these structures. The Clear Lake LFL was designed to complement the natural beauty of Central Gardens. Clear Lake residents and visitors to our community are encouraged to become active users of our Little Free Library. Our LFL will be officially registered and will appear on the map at littlefreelibrary.org.