New addition at Jefferson public library

~by Jane Millard, library director

The next time you walk by the Jefferson public library, you will find books left outside. A “Little Free Library” has been placed in the front yard of the Jefferson public library. Little Free Libraries are free book exchanges where anyone may take a book or return a book to share with others. The mission is to promote literacy and share the love of reading in communities across the globe.

The new Little Free Library was built locally by Jim Rose, who volunteered to custom build the structure as one of his first retirement projects. Jim asked library director Jane Millard for design ideas and it was decided to replicate the classic architecture of the Carnegie building. The Friends of the Library sponsored the project by providing a monetary donation towards the building materials and payment of the Little Free Library registration fee.

“When I first heard of the Little Free Library program on Iowa Public Radio I thought it was a great idea and wanted to build one to be placed where anyone could take advantage of the easily accessible world of the word,” Rose said. “I didn’t realize that making one to look like the Carnegie Library would be so difficult because of the roof and making sure everything would be as waterproof as possible. Thanks to Barb, Jane, and all the Friends of the Library for supporting the project.”

“You don’t need a library card at the Little Free Library, you don’t have to whisper, and there are no due dates or overdue fines,” says Millard. She adds that a variety of subjects, and books for all ages, can be found in the Little Free Library. “It’s just as much fun to leave a book for someone else to read. Discover a new author or a book to share with your grandchild.”

With the Little Free Library are (from left) Jim Rose, Barb Labate, Joyce Turner and Jane Millard
With the Little Free Library are (from left) Jim Rose, Barb Labate, Joyce Turner and Jane Millard

When the Little Free Library movement began in 2009, the goal was to make books available to kids and families who had limited access to books. The first Little Free Library was designed and built by Todd H. Bol who placed it in the front yard of his home in Hudson, WI. His neighbors loved his miniature library, which inspired him to build 30 more libraries and give them away. The response was overwhelming. Bol started a non-profit organization with the goal of establishing 2,510 libraries – one more than Andrew Carnegie. Since then, more than 25,000 Little Free Libraries have been placed in all 50 states and over 70 countries around the world. Their new goal is to increase to 50,000 by 2017. To learn more, visit the website at

The Friends of the Library thanked Jim Rose for building and donating the Little Free Library, and the Jefferson street department for installing it.

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