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Little Free Libraries coming to Yamhill County

Dec 17, 2012


By Molly Walker
Of the News-Register


Soon, those looking for a book in their neighborhood may be in luck, as long as they living in Yamhill County. Thanks to a partnership with the McMinnville Lowe’s, the Hillside Communities retirement complex and the local Reading for All program, 18 Little Free Libraries will be installed in communities throughout the area.

The Little Free Libraries are built to resemble tiny houses. They are filled with books.

The premise is that anyone taking a book will leave one in its place, according to Michele Bergeron, director for Reading for All. She said the program was adopted by the  Literacy Action Team, and Lowe’s joined through its Heroes program, which encourages employees to adopt local nonprofits as a focus of volunteer service.

The concept was developed in 2009 in Wisconsin by Todd Bol and Rick Brooks. It quickly spread across the U.S. and went abroad. 

Initially, Bergeron said, just two libraries were planned. She said she had forged a relationship with Hillside, and residents there volunteered to build them in the facility’s woodshop.

Then Lowe’s jumped on board. And with its capabilities, the project grew. 

Plans and construction tips have been posted at www.littlefreelibrary.org. However, Bergeron said architect Ron Lehnus, who lives at Hillside, had developed a taller, narrower design he felt would be more functional and durable.

The local Little Free Libraries have been designed with two shelves, with children’s books on the bottom shelf and adult selections on the top. The initial stash of reading material — 30 to 40 books — will be supplied by Reading for All.

Any place wanting to be considered for a location can complete an application available at www.reading4all.com or local public libraries. A $20 adoption fee is required to cover the cost of registration. 

Lowe’s held an assembly party Sunday where Dave Carl, Skip West, Fred Martin, Jim Kulpa, Kyle Bodnar, Tyler Thessin, Heidi Brown, Patrick Gorman, Justin Dillard, Kyle White and Eric Baughman spent time constructing the Little Free Libraries. Lowe’s is also offering to provide installation services when sites have been selected.

Some of the little libraries will arrive pre-decorated. Others will be bare so hosts can paint them to match their surroundings.

“We’re excited about the program,” said Lowe’s manager Eric Baughman.

“For me, anything that’s a visual reminder of the importance of reading is really important,” said Bergeron. She noted, “One of Reading for All’s goals is to raise awareness of the importance of literacy.” 

Bergeron said only 27 Little Free Libraries are currently registered in the state of Oregon. The local partners are planning to place 18 more in the first phase, and Nate Blackwell-Mitchell wants to build a set of six as part of his Eagle Scout project.

That would give Yamhill County almost half the entire state complement.

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