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Bold Charm Meets Quiet Charisma
by yasha bol
My aunt, the wife of Little Free Library’s founder Todd Bol, has lived life in a sphere of self discovery.
Susan Bol has worked as an educator for thirty-eight years, and currently fulfills the role of a speech pathologist for special education high school students. As both a teacher and a speech pathologist she not only directs purpose and opens thoughts, but provides students with the actual words needed to convey said purpose and thought, or as she concisely puts it, “communication is key”. Thirty-eight years ago, at the dawn of that educational career, she met my uncle, Todd Bol, in a lunch line in River Falls, Wisconsin; and, I suppose one could say that the rest was history. Susan integrated Todd’s bold charm into her quiet brand of charisma, and together they became the type of couple to try and find the story within everyone they met, from cashier to elite businessman. When Todd first proposed Little Free Library, Susan was clueless to the upwards trajectory of the idea, but immediately recognized that it fit with her personal values as an educator. According to Susan, the stories contained within little libraries teach communication much in the same way as a speech pathologist, for the stories spark not only interest and passion and vocabulary, but also new community.

Family is essential to the little library movement. Susan states that the main motivation for her fully supporting Share With Others is because the relationships within a family business represents the broader relationships built with the phenomenon of front yard sharing. The structure of a family business is much like a scale model of the ideal modern neighborhood; intergenerational, with just enough leeway to innovate. That familial foundation of trust can break down politics and, in place of politics, foster a sense of belonging. Todd’s original Little Library was built in honor of my late grandmother, June Bol. Susan greatly admired June, chiefly because she was a woman who had her priorities straight. No matter the state of her home, dress, or even dignity, June was quick to welcome and quick to break down those politics in favor of belonging. Susan of course, has tried to follow in her footsteps.

My aunt, in her career, has been a deliverer of self discovery, but it was family that delivered self discovery to her. She found, in the communal magics of both front yard sharing and education, belonging.

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