SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Have you seen what looks like tiny houses filled with books propped up on fence posts in peoples front yards and wondered what you were looking at?
They are part of the movement called Little Free Library that promotes the idea of “take a book, leave a book” in neighborhoods around the world. Several can be found here in Springfield and photojournalist Tim Leimkuhler caught up with a Little Free Library owner in the Phelps Grove neighborhood to learn more about this interesting idea.
“I have a Little Free Library,” Teri Young, Little Free Library owner, said. “This is a library book exchange. It’s for the neighborhood, the community to exchange books, share ideas. Promote reading is the biggest thing.
“Actually I saw one in someone’s neighborhood when I was on my walk and decided to peek into it and sat down and read some of the books and started reading the things that people had wrote down about the little library. I thought I love this idea, the sharing, the positivism, the community part of it. I thought I’m going to do that and so I did.
“Anybody can come here any time of day. Truthfully, it’s always open. It doesn’t matter if it’s midnight or 2 in the morning and you are walking by, you can stop and help yourself. If you’ve got dogs you can put them up on the dog post and give them a treat and get a book.
“Teenagers, young adults, and I have some old favorites. Miss Read, I’ve got some Minecraft that are really popular with the boys, and then I’ve got a lot of children’s books.
“I’ve turned it into a butterfly hummingbird playground for kids to come observe and learn about what they eat and how they grow. Mainly it was started out for the butterflies and that’s why I picked out all the flowers and perennials that I have because that encourages them to come.
“And the herbs. It’s just fun. It’s amazing. I never get tired of watching a butterfly emerge from a cocoon. It’s amazing and children love it and we have a lot of children in this neighborhood that walk up and down the street. They are welcome to come up and look and I think that a lot of people don’t know that they are welcome and that they can go through all of here and look and pick flowers for mom.
“Anyplace that I can provide a place for someone to learn to read. The love, the fun of reading. Making it easier for them. That’s something that I want to give.”