EMBARRASS- A small house full of stories and ideas popped up last month just outside the Timber Hall in Embarrass. The little house was a foot and a half wide by two feet high, perched on a post and …
EMBARRASS- A small house full of stories and ideas popped up last month just outside the Timber Hall in Embarrass. The little house was a foot and a half wide by two feet high, perched on a post and base. A glass door opened to three compartments filled with books. A sign on the door proclaims, “Take a book, share a book.”
The little house full of reading material is a registered Little Free Library, one of six that the Babbitt Friends of the Library have put up around the area. Other locations include the Babbitt Cenex station, Lossing Building Center, 10 Hemlock next to the Babbitt Ice Arena, Just Bite Me Bait, and now the Timber Hall in Embarrass.
“They were all built by volunteers,” Babbitt Librarian Lisa Pennala told the Timberjay. “The Little Free Library at the Timber Hall was built by a gentleman from Embarrass, who also built the log cabin-style library currently at Lossing’s.”
Mike Radtke built the two little libraries and donated them back in 2021. The little library at Lossing’s was installed shortly after, but Pennala said a variety of factors delayed the installation of the little library at the Timber Hall.
Pennala described some of the challenges of maintaining a network of little free libraries in a rural area. The Babbitt Public Library and its Friends organization keep up the stock in the little libraries if they get low and clean and maintain them as needed. Sometimes they need to make major repairs or must replace them if the damage is too severe.
The Little Free Library organization got its start in Madison, Wis. in 2009, inspired by “take a book, leave a book” programs in coffee shops and other public spaces, and also by the library philanthropy of Andrew Carnegie.
The Little Free Library became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2012 and the organization now supports the “take a book, leave a book” movement through helping volunteers erect their own little libraries, and through grants to library and literacy programs. Today, over 150,000 little free libraries in over 120 countries are registered with the nonprofit organization.s