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The Growing Little Free Library Idea
by tony bol
My late brother, Todd Bol (d.10-18-18), was both frustrated and flattered every time a new Little Free Library organization popped up and caught his attention. As founder of the little library movement, he was frustrated because he wanted their mission and quality to be in the right spirit and aligned with the principles of his sharing vision, and was flattered because a new Little Free Library offshoot was proof that his grassroots movement was taking on a life of its own. Todd knew that individual communities organizing little library networks was the correct thing to do for the future of the movement, and it delighted him. He grasped too that only localized communities would know how to best serve their individualized neighborhoods.
I have contacted dozens of Little Free Library organizations and service clubs around the country and discovered that most states have some form of organized group that is part of the movement. You can find philanthropic Little Free Library groups everywhere. They are comprised of caring and generous people who want to share books in ways that strengthen reading as a core community value. Some raise funds, produce libraries, offer elaborate book access programs, or extend services beyond books and share resources of all kinds. It is extremely gratifying to see my brother’s idea plant roots and grow all around the nation, as it allows his legacy to live on in not only front yards, but in relationships.

The Little Free Library nonprofit organization was founded ten years ago in Hudson, Wisconsin by my brother, Todd, with heaps of support from his wife, children, and extended family. Hudson-based Little Free Library has much to be proud of. It operates as a central network for many little libraries, tells the stories of little libraries through a successful social media network, and expands ideas for library stewards all over the world. The Bol family personally and professionally endorses all the good work of Hudson-based Little Free Library. We are pleased with their growing financial success, staff, and array of services.

Well over a year ago, Todd and I started talking about developing a new little library organization. This was long before he fell ill, and when he had way more ideas than was able to find a home for. Together we came up with the name “Share With Others” to explore a new approach to front yard sharing libraries, focusing on Todd’s specific vision of social entrepreneurship that includes an ability to move forward at a fast pace. Share With Others is now a reality (as of 1–2-19, Todd’s birthday) dedicated to advancing innovations in little libraries and finding new communities to serve. Moreover, the Bol family is honoring Todd by creating the Foundation for Front Yard Sharing. My brother’s visionary ideas will now have a home to expand from simply sharing books, to sharing hope itself.

The little library movement continues to be a phenomena that ignites new front yard sharing organizations. We all want more than one group to help educate our children, and more than one institution to cure our world’s ills. Congratulations to every organized little library group, you are making a difference!

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