Upon entrance to the Madison County Extension Office on School Street now stands a Little Free Library for local readers to peruse at their convenience for their next title or perhaps donate an option for a new passerby.
Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that began in 2009 and strives to connect communities through a love of sharing and reading. The idea is that anyone can take a book that interests them from one of the locations and they are encouraged to leave one or more as well. They are not required to leave a book if they decide to take a book.
The nonprofit is based in Hudson, Wis., but found a way to Madisonville as a solution to a problem all too familiar to many families. Madisonville resident and parent Brooke Willis could not decide what to do with the copious amount of books her children had outgrown.
“I knew I did not want to get rid of them, I just wanted to figure out the best use for them,” said Willis. “I came across the Little Free Library on TV and that is where I got the idea that we could have one here. It was something I could do together with my kids.”
The idea only grew from there. Willis learned there were no Little Free Libraries in the Madison County area yet and sought to change that quickly. Her children, Colter and Coy, were involved in the process as well and enjoyed paging through the books they used to call their favorites. They also stamped the soon-to-be donated books with the location of the Extension Office to show where it came from in the future. The structure itself was purchased off of the Little Free Library website and sent to Madisonville.
“We have always been a family that loves to read,” said Willis. “Books are something I have never minded buying so we sort of had an overload. I was trying to find the best thing for them, like a second chance for those books.”
Willis touched on the importance of reading in her family as well as the role it can play in a community. This is true for children, of course, but they are not the only customers welcome at the Little Library.
“Many have asked if it is only for children’s books, but it also for adults” said Willis. “Of course, children’s books are usually what people are most willing to donate, but I would love to see adult books and adult readers find their way to the Little Library as well.”
While nothing is in the works, Willis would love to see more Little Free Libraries pop up throughout Madison County. For further information on the nonprofit or how you can donate locally, visit littlefreelibrary.org or contact Brooke Willis at firstname.lastname@example.org.