Little Free Library comes to Weyauwega
By Angie Landsverk
When Jan Dahlke learned Fremont had a Little Free Library, she thought Weyauwega should have one, too.
Now the community does.
The Little Free Library went up at the intersection of Mill and Clark streets about a month ago.
“I’ve had people say to me, ‘Oh, I see we have a Little Free Library,’” Dahlke said.
The mission of the Little Free Library movement is to promote literacy and the love of reading through free book exchanges in communities.
Its beginning dates back to 2009, when Todd Bol, of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one-room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former teacher who loved reading.
Bol filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard.
Friends and neighbors loved the idea. He then built several more and gave them away.
Each one had a sign which said, “Free books.”
Rick Brooks, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, saw Bol’s project during a discussion about potential social enterprises.
Various ideas inspired them, including Andrew Carnegie’s support of free public libraries, Wisconsin’s past history of having traveling little libraries and the collections of books popping up in coffee houses and elsewhere.
The two of them decided to work together on creating a larger mission.
The premise of the community lending library is to take a book, return a book.
Stewards host and build these neighborhood libraries.
Reid Raschke, a member of the Waupaca Breakfast Rotary Club and a former Weyauwega resident, built the Little Free Library located in Fremont and also the one in Weyauwega.
Upon hearing Raschke built the one in Fremont, Dahlke said to his mother Barb, “Do you think he would build us one?”
“He already has it started,” she replied to Dahlke.
During a monthly meeting of Weyauwega’s Book Friends group, area book lovers began the process of finding a place for the Little Free Library.
They found one on Richard and Kathy Wagner’s property, in the town of Weyauwega.
“Kathy (also a member of Book Friends) and I decided where to put it. We wanted it highly visible,” Dahlke said.
After Raschke built and donated the Little Free Library, “Richard had the post to put it on. Kathy painted and stained it,” Dahlke said.
Added below it in this shady area were a spray painted chair and a hosta plant.
Dahlke took care of registering it as an official Little Free Library on www.littlefreelibrary.org which is the website to visit for more information about the program.
Books for adults and a few for children are currently in the library. Dahlke encourages area residents to add to the collection.
“We thought it was a really good location, because a lot of people use the street for biking and walking,” Dahlke said of its spot off of Clark Street.
While this Little Free Library is not far from the Weyauwega Public Library, she said when people decide later in the day they want a book to read and the public library is closed, it will be a place to go to find one.