Library program a positive example of grassroots effort

We like a movement that’s slowly taking root around the country – including at least two places right here in the Upper Peninsula – that not only encourages reading but fosters a positive sense of community and sharing.

The Little Free Library concept goes something like this: Books of whatever stripe are placed in what can be descrbed as a brightly-colored bookshelf, typically adjacent to the U.S. Mail box.

The books are free, new and old. Taking one only requires that another be left in its place. The result is a near continuous cycle of people taking and leaving books.

To our knowledge, Little Free Libraries have started in both Harvey, on Silver Creek Road, and Houghton areas in the region. There may be others.

The concept traces its roots to Hudson, Wis., three years ago when someone named Todd Bol built the first curbside library and stocked it with free books as a tribute to his mother, who was a former school teacher who loved to read.

After teaming with another person from Madison, who, like Bol, was interested in positive social change, the concept spread.

The pair set an ambitious goal of 2,509 Little Libraries nationwide, the same number of community libraries industrialist Andrew Carnegie started a century ago. While it’s unclear how many libraries have been set up to date, we have every confidence the goal will be achieved.

This is one of those rare programs that doesn’t have an apparent downside: Literary and community are supported in a grassroots effort that costs next to nothing.

We wish them the very best.