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Leadership group cultivates literacy

Last Thursday, May 16, at Eco Village. Left to right: Jennifer Herink, EcoVillage resident Beth Evans, Amy Luethmers, Laura King, Maranda Mahr, Kerri Olson, Amy Tryba, Eco Village resident Seegar Mason, Robert Hughes, Russ Blasius, Pat Lapekas, Bridget Schaefer and Linda Berg. Not pictured is LRL member Nate Wells. <i>Debbie Griffin photo</i>1 / 2
Neighbors stock the Little Free Libraries and keep the simple concept of the books going -- borrow, read, return.2 / 2

The 12-member Chamber of Commerce-sponsored group Leadership River Falls got busy Thursday, May 16, building for its civic-service project and installing River Falls' third Little Free Library at the Eco Village being developed by the St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity.

The big group ventured out Sunday, May 19, for a productive day, erecting six more Little Free Libraries at various locations around town.

An LFL now sits at each of these River Falls locations:

  • 417 E. Maple St.
  • 811 Oak Knoll Ave.
  • 403 N. Winter St.
  • 317 Clark St.
  • 1463 Riverside Dr.
  • 420 Roosevelt St.
  • 122 S. Apollo Road

The libraries consist of a decorative, covered box that sits about five feet high on top of a solid post.The libraries are built to keep out the elements and stocked by the communities in which they sit.

People in the leadership program said woodworking students at the Renaissance Academy built the structures.

LRF participants raised funds for the equipment, collected books to stock the libraries and recruited a long-term steward for each one. They also painted the libraries and landscaped each installation area.

The concept is simple:Take a book to read, then return it to the box when finished.

Eco Village residents Beth Evans and Mason Seegar are building their home now and said they're excited about having the library. They said finding something to read is a real need that sometimes occurs at odd hours.

Now, all they have to do is walk a few yards to grab something from the LFL.

The Leadership River Falls group is a program sponsored by the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism. Each year it accepts 12 applicants interested in future leadership and the betterment of the community.

The group attends a monthly learning seminar that covers a different topic each month including everything from natural resources and historic preservation to government and business. LRF students also choose a project to do together, usually something that will benefit the community.

Past "classes" of Leadership River Falls have completed such projects as the disc golf course at Hoffman Park, historic plaques on downtown buildings, and cleared the river banks downtown near the Kinnickinnic River.