Newburgh’s own Little Free Library

Did you know that Newburgh has a Little Free Library? As you drive east on S.R. 662, turn left at our Historic Newburgh Visitors Center and Gift Shop. Drive two blocks east on W. Main Street and there on your left you will see a Little Free Library.

You can’t help but smile at these quaint little structures that offer a variety of books for your reading pleasure. It is all on the honor system.

This is a full fledged movement! In 2009, Todd Bol of Hudson, Wis., built the first Little Free Library. It was in the form of a red painted, one room school house. It was a tribute to his mother who was a teacher and who loved to read. He put it on a post in his front yard and filled it with books. Friends and neighbors loved it and started requesting their own Little Libraries. Together with Rick Brooks, an expert in social media marketing and community organizing, they launched an awareness campaign.

Each Little Library was unique and in the beginning, they were always made of recycled materials. Their mission is to exchange good books and bring people together with the motto “Take a Book, Return a Book.” In 2015, they were awarded the Library of Congress Literacy Award for effective implementation of best practices in literacy and reading promotion. How about that!

Through social media and word of mouth, the number of Little Free Libraries was growing. In 2011, national attention brought the number of Little Free Libraries to 400. In May of 2012, they formed a nonprofit corporation with a board of directors and became a 501(c) (3) organization.

By August 2012, there were nearly 25,000 Little Free Libraries and by June of 2016, they reached 40,000 libraries worldwide! There are Little Free Libraries in all 50 states and more than 70 countries. By the end of 2017, they expect to have more than 100,000 Little Free Libraries!

There is even a coffee table book, “The Little Free Library Book” published by Coffee House Press and written by Margaret Aldrich. It features more than 350 color photos of Little Free Libraries and is available from local bookstores, as well as their website, littlefreelibrary.org.

I am kind of a traditionalist and I still enjoy going to our Ohio Township Library. We are lucky in Downtown Newburgh to still have our library at 30 West Water Street. This is where we have our history room. You and the kids can enjoy storytime every Tuesday morning. Listen to a few books, sing some songs, play with the flannelboard and make a craft. It is active learning and a great time for you and your child.

Don’t forget that Saturday, Aug. 20 is our second Free Family Movie Night for the year. Thanks to Heritage Federal Credit Union, we will be presenting the movie, the Minions. This year, the movies are being shown at the Lou Dennis Community Park. Stretch out on the meadow under the stars and enjoy!

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