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'Little Library' opens in Oswego neighborhood : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
'Little Library' opens in Oswego neighborhood
Lake View family seeks to share love of reading with neighbors

by Tony Scott

6/12/2014

Lesli Gresholdt of Oswego may have found a way to not only share her family's love of reading, but to also get to know her neighbors.

Gresholdt has placed a wooden box on a post in her front yard, right along the sidewalk in the Lake View Estates Subdivision just south of Ill. Route 71.

It's called a Little Free Library, and the concept is, you take a book and, if you want to, leave a book. It's a way to share books among neighbors.

There is an organization called Little Free Libraries that explains on its website that the concept originated with Todd Bol of Hudson, Wis., who, five years ago, built a one-room schoolhouse model in a tribute to his mother, a former schoolteacher who loved reading.

"He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard," the website states. "His neighbors and friends loved it. He built several more and gave them away. Each one had a sign that said FREE BOOKS."

You can buy ready-made free library boxes from the organization at littlefreelibrary.org, or make your own, like Gresholdt.

"We made ours almost completely free with wood scraps and things like that," she said. "My husband is really good with woodworking, but it was a project."

Gresholdt has spent time telling her neighbors about the idea, and welcoming them to the books in her front yard.

"My kids and I, we canvassed the neighborhood with flyers and went door-to-door just letting them know what it was," Gresholdt said. "We had a lot of people look at it, but they were afraid to stop and actually open the door to see what was inside."

She added, "We've had mostly kids come by and get books or drop off books."

The collection mostly comes from books off Gresholdt's own shelves, and those she's found at thrift stores.

"I've always loved reading, my kids love to read, but we had too many (books)," she said. "I always wanted to do this and it's been in my mind for a couple years. So we started with a lot of our own, and then I would go to thrift stores and I'd buy bestsellers and really good classics for cheap to get it stocked."

Gresholdt said it's keeping in theme with what they do as a family.

"Our whole family, we try to reuse things - we recycle things, we shop a lot at thrift stores, we make things on our own," she said. "So for me it was a lot of that, sharing books at no cost with our neighbors."

She said it also helps introduce her family to the neighborhood.

"We're new to our neighborhood - we've only been here a year," she said. "We only know the people on both sides of us, and that's it. So it's a way of building community and having a reason to talk to people. From what I heard, it's a great community builder, and people meet more neighbors than they have before."



Coming to Montgomery's
Foxmoor Subdivision, too


The Village of Montgomery will also soon be home to a Little Free Library.

Village board member Stan Bond said Monday he expects to soon put up a Little Free Library near the intersection of a trail adjoining the lake in the Foxmoor Subdivision.

Bond first presented the idea of a Little Free Library to his board colleagues last year.




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