By Andrea Starr
If you see a box resembling a birdhouse in Mannerheim Central, take a closer look; then, take a book. It’s a Little Free Library! The Little Free Library concept was born with a vision to build a stronger sense of community by encouraging reading and promoting literacy.
In 2009, Wisconsinite, Todd Bol built the first Little Free Library in memory of his mother, a former teacher and lover of reading. Since then, thousands more Little Free Libraries have popped up around the country. In fact, the goal of the Little Free Library project was to build 2,510 Little Free Libraries; this goal was met in the summer of 2012 and was quickly surpassed, as many more libraries have been and still are being placed around the country. Forged by the motto “Take a Book, Return a Book”, The Little Free Library project provides twenty to thirty books per location for public use, but it is the readers’ responsibility to continue the service for others in their community.
There are currently four registered Little Free Library locations in the Upper Peninsula, according to the map on The Little Free Library website. The Finlandia location in Mannerheim Central will be the fifth (the third location in the Keweenaw area). Finlandia’s assistant professor of History, Bill Knoblauch, Ph.D. and associate professor of Integrated Design, Rick Loduha, back this development. The library design itself was created by James Mars, a Finlandia student of the International School of Art and Design. Mars took on the Little Free Library design as part of his Project Management class.
The Mannerheim location will not only be available to students of Finlandia, but community members as well, allowing Finlandia to further its relationship with our surrounding community. Within a week, the library unit should be delivered to Mannerheim Central. Anyone looking to escape the cold can stop by the student lounge. You can curl up in a chair and enjoy a book, or take it with you. And you should also remember to leave a book so others can enjoy this exciting addition to our campus.