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Leadership group aims for more Free Libraries

This is one of two Little Free Libraries in River Falls now. The current Leadership River Falls class plans to add six more.1 / 2
The 2013 Leadership River Falls group includes 12 members: Laura Herinke of UW-River Falls; Maranda Mahr of the River Falls Chamber, Linda Berg of the Renaissance Academy, Russ Blasius of WESTconsin Credit Union, Pat Lapekas of Lapekas and Associates, Amy Tryba of River Falls Hospital, Laura King of CVTC, Kerri Olsen of the River Falls State Bank, Amy Luethmers of UW-River Falls, Bridgett Schaffer of First National Bank and Nate Wells of the River Falls School District.2 / 2

Two members from the just-formed Leadership River Falls class attended the Feb. 12 City Council meeting to introduce their group's project for 2013: Six more Little Free Libraries in River Falls.

LRF group members Maranda Mahr and Robert Hughes explained the concept and informed the council of the plan to raise funds through grants, find six library sites on private property and their corresponding "stewards," and hold a book drive in April to fill the Little Free Libraries.

Hughes said, "It's a great way to interact with your community and your neighbors."

Todd Bol of Hudson started the concept of Little Free Libraries in 2009, along with friend Rick Brooks. The two free libraries in River Falls are at 627 N. Grove St. and 1450 S. Wasson Ln. There are also six locations in Hudson and one in New Richmond.

Readers can also find locations throughout the United States and the world. Program founders have surpassed their goal of establishing more than 2,500 free libraries throughout the world.

The concept of Little Free Libraries is simple: Take, return or donate a book to it anytime. People in the community keep it full.

The pole-mounted boxes measure a few feet square and tall. They include a cover with a latch to protect books from the weather.

Mahr and Hughes said a few things about the LFL boxes are uniform, but they can be customized to better blend with the neighborhood's characteristics.

The two said they're looking for six people willing to provide long-term 'stewardship' of a box, basically keeping an eye on it and maybe facilitating any minor maintenance.

They explained that the boxes are placed on private property so as to not infringe on city property such as parks or other sites where permitting would be needed even for a small structure.

Mahr and Hughes agreed they hope to space the six new libraries in such a way that each area of town has easy access to one. To build the boxes, the 2013 LRF class will coordinate with the Renaissance Academy wood-shop students and instructor.

They are seeking grants and will be going door-to-door trying to raise money for the project. After an April book drive, they plan to install and stock the libraries.

LRF members ask any potential donors or stewards to contact the Chamber office at 715-425-2533 or at

More details about the LRF program may be found at the Chamber's website:

For the complete story, please see the Feb. 21 print edition of the River Falls Journal.