On a Sunday afternoon in June of 2013, I watched as my daughter’s Girl Scouts troop filled two Little Free Libraries with books from their bookshelves. It was the last step in their year-long Silver Award project and a way to leave a legacy at their North Liberty elementary schools as they made the transition to junior high.
Those girls are in high school now, but the Little Free Libraries they installed at Garner and Van Allen elementary schools remain, both an ever-revolving selection of books for the students who walk by them every day.
The Take a Book, Leave a Book movement got its start in Hudson, Wisc., in 2009 when Todd Bol built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard.
Today, there are more than 32,000 registered Little Free Libraries in all 50 states and 70+ countries.
Bol, executive director of the Little Free Library movement, and Margret Aldrich, author of The Little Free Library Book, are two of this weekend’s Iowa City Book Festival featured speakers. Their presentation will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday in Meeting Room A.
This appearance is Bol’s last on his Iowa leg of his Little Free Library Across America Tour. Rachael Carlson, director of operations for the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, says Bol will build a Little Free Library is the Pedestrian Mall before and after his talk. For anyone who has considered building their own Little Free Library, Saturday’s event is the perfect time to learn more about it.
The Iowa City Book Festival begins Thursday and continues through Sunday. For a complete list of events, including those happening at the Library, visit iowacitybookfestival.org.
Volunteers are still needed for this year’s festival. To sign up, click here.