Words Exchanged

The idea is simple – take a book, return a book. It’s the motto of the Little Free Library (LFL) movement, and it’s all you really need to know to participate in the community-based book-sharing program.

Founded in Hudson, Wisconsin, in 2009 by Todd Bol and Rick Brooks, LFLs are sweeping across the world, including Columbus. Most of the miniature libraries look like a cross between a large mailbox and a dollhouse, and they hold anywhere from a dozen to a hundred–plus books and magazines. The structures can be placed anywhere – a yard, a park, a bike path – wherever people might wander by to grab a book and replace it with one of their own.

In five short years, more than 10,000 little libraries have sprung up around the globe, and there are 16 installations in Central Ohio, many of which have appeared in the last nine months. Each one is a reflection of its steward and its community, from the structure itself to the books contained within. Check out (614)’s guide to several of the LFL locations around town, as well as a few interesting trivia tidbits. Happy sharing…

LOCATION 216 Oakland Park Ave., Clintonville
STEWARDS Sandy Coen & Florence Jain

• This was the first little library in Ohio registered on the LFL website, built by Sandy Coen and Florence Jain, a retired librarian
• They’ve helped build five LFLs in all, including two that will be installed this spring in Granville and Upper Arlington

LOCATION 14 W Lakeview Ave., Clintonville
STEWARD Cliff Wiltshire/Clintonville CRC

• The library was built by Todd Bol and Rick Brooks, the founders of the LFL movement, side–by–side with local volunteers
• It’s also the historic site of the first public library in Clintonville

LOCATION 490 S Champion Ave., Olde Towne East
STEWARD Kevin Davies/Feed OTE

• The library is located at Champion Community Garden, a new urban garden aimed at improving conditions in the neighborhood
• Favorite book? Jarhead by Anthony Swofford
• Weirdest book? Cooking in Your Microwave

LOCATION 1125 Lyndale Dr., Westerville
STEWARDS Maria & Duane Soisson

• Maria and Duane finished painting it the night of the June 2012 Derecho storm that killed power across the city for days
• They built the library out of old kitchen cabinets and also added a storage bench, and the two hold nearly 100 books combined
• More than 300 books have circulated, including 100 of their own

LOCATION 387 Delaware Dr., Westerville
STEWARD Carolee Luberto

• The library was “built by hand with love” by Carolee’s husband as a Mother’s Day gift almost two years ago
• Carolee contacted author John Searles because she is a fan of his, and he donated some books for the library, including an autographed copy of one his own

LOCATION 373 Whitaker Ave. S., Powell
STEWARD Vicki Miller

• The library is located near a popular bike path, where the Millers also installed a gong that people like to ring
• Longest book? War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
• Shortest book? The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook by Joshua Piven
• Weirdest book? Mary Ann’s Gilligan’s Island Cookbook by Dawn Wells, who played the character on the TV show

LOCATION 333 E Wilson Bridge Road, Worthington
STEWARD Melissa Hindman/ Worthington Parks & Rec

• Both the library and an adjacent playhouse commemorate the historic Griswold House Inn, which was a popular stopover for travelers – it was razed in 1964 despite preservation efforts
• They partnered with the Friends of the Worthington Library, which donates books for the project
• McCord Park is the only public park in Columbus that’s home to a Little Free Library

LOCATION 359 E Sycamore St., German Village
STEWARD Sally Crandall

• The library is made from an insulated, galvanized-steel milk box, purchased off Craigslist – it’s decorated with oil pastel ivy
• Sally can see the library from her window, and she cheers out loud whenever someone takes or leaves a book

LOCATION 2837 Lakewood Dr., Minerva Park
STEWARD Mariann Brush

• Mariann designed, built, and installed the library herself – it’s fashioned from leftover 2’x8’s from her dock, old shed doors, a picture frame, a fence, and refrigerator magnets
• It’s dedicated to her mother, Martha L. Bishop, a lover of books and storytelling
• Weirdest book? Ideals magazine, Easter edition

LOCATION 6258 Brooksong Circle, Blacklick
STEWARD Bill Evans

• The library has helped foster a sense of community on a two–year–old walking path that connects Windrush Creek neighborhood
• Most recent book added? Gotcha! by Fern Michaels
• Most popular? The Lakeside Press biography of Teddy Roosevelt

LOCATION 3721 Florian Dr., Easton
STEWARD Traci Walton & Sally Crandall

• The kids in the neighborhood check regularly for the comic books and fight over who gets which one
• Most recent book added? The Little House Treasury by Laura Ingalls Wilder
• Weirdest book? The Watchtower, the illustrated Jehovah’s Witness magazine

For more information about the LFL movement and how to start a library in your neighborhood, visit www.littlefreelibrary.org.