Sharing stories (w/video)

  • Sally Anderson of Sebastopol recently installed a Free Little Library with the same motif as her remodeled 1895 home on Main St.

"Little Free Libraries" like Anderson's are popping up all over the country and beyond, part of a fledgling global movement to build community and foster literacy through book-sharing.

They are like Redbox for books, but they are free. There's no need for a library card, no due date and no fines. Kids don't have to wait for an adult to take them to the public library if there's a "LFL" box down the street or around the corner.

"It's like a little box of magic whenever you open the door and see what's inside," said Todd Bol, who started it all in 2009 when he built and installed a little little red schoolhouse filled with books outside his Wisconsin home as a memorial to his mother.

Garage sale

It went unnoticed until he held a garage sale a year later. Strangers became so excited that word spread.

His first efforts to build and market them fizzled, but when he started installing them in strategic public places, the media took notice and the idea went viral.

Bol already has surpassed his goal of creating as many little free libraries as philanthropist

Andrew Carnegie, who built 2,509 full-size public libraries more than 100 years ago.

Some 16,000 from as far away as Ghana are registered at littlefreelibrary.org. There are eight registered in Sonoma County, in Cotati, Forestville, Guerneville, Petaluma, Santa Rosa and Sonoma.

Anderson, who threw an official library opening block party earlier this month, is too new to appear on the registry.

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