Rogue Gateway installs Free Little Libraries

Joanne Stumpf and Rogue Gateway Rotarian Doug Walker stand next to a Free Little Library, which was placed in front of Stumpf's house in northwest Grants Pass. It's one of 10 located in the Grants Pass are.

Joanne Stumpf and Rogue Gateway Rotarian Doug Walker stand next to a Free Little Library, which was placed in front of Stumpf’s house in northwest Grants Pass. It’s one of 10 located in the Grants Pass area.

Little Free Libraries have been placed in several Grants Pass neighborhoods, a project undertaken by the Rogue Gateway Rotary Club Literacy Committee.

“The goal is to promote reading and education in the community,” said committee member Laurel Samson, “but it’s also community-building.” The Little Free Libraries will be stocked with books for children, adolescents, and/or adults. Neighbors are invited to take one or more books and leave one or more in exchange.

The little libraries, which Rogue Gateway Rotarians and friends built and painted themselves, also will promote the Josephine Community Libraries. Eventually, bookmarks and/or stickers will be included in each book, urging readers to find more reading materials at their local library.

Doug Walker, owner of Doug Walker Construction and president-elect of the Rogue Gateway Rotary Club, coordinated the building of 10 little libraries. Six have been installed to date, two more will be sited, and two kept in reserve in case any need replacing.

Each is located in front of a house with permission of the homeowners, who have agreed to keep an eye on the libraries and keep them filled with books.

“I am happy to provide the neighborhood children with access to books,” said Joanne Stumpf, who has a Little Free Library in front of her northwest Grants Pass home near Highland Elementary.

The Little Free Library movement began in 2009 when Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one room schoolhouse, filled it with books, and put it on a post in his front yard. He built several more and gave them away. Rick Brooks of the University of Wisconsin-Madison saw Bol’s prototype, and together they began expanding the project to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges. For more information about Little Free Library, visit littlefreelibrary.org.

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