Over the last few weeks, tiny “houses” have been quietly popping up at recreation centers throughout Minneapolis. Small as they are, these 50+ little buildings will hold entire worlds. They’re Little Free Libraries, and thanks to a joint effort of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation and our partners, every recreation and community center in the Minneapolis Parks System will have one.
Little Free Libraries are “take a book, leave a book” free book exchanges. The project was made possible through the partnership of the Parks Foundation and Minnesota Public Radio, The Minneapolis Foundation, and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, in celebration of MPR’s 50th Anniversary.
“Books, like parks, have the power to transform human life. Now, park visitors can drop by any Minneapolis recreation center and discover new stories to captivate their imagination and expand their horizons,” says Tom Evers, Executive Director of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation. “We believe parks are common ground and we’re excited to help make it easier for community members to connect with each other through their shared love of reading.”
In total, 55 Little Free Libraries will be installed at 49 Minneapolis recreation centers this spring, as well as three additional locations to be announced. Most of the new Little Free Libraries are located outside recreation centers, but keep an eye out for 10 mobile libraries. Lake Nokomis even has a Little Free Library made out of a kayak! To find a Minneapolis recreation center near you, visit https://www.minneapolisparks.org/parks__destinations/recreation_centers/.
Also keep an eye out for three Little Free Libraries specially decorated by the Minnesota School of Botanical Art, Highpoint Center for Printmaking, and Little & Co. More information on these decorative Little Free Libraries, as well as their locations, will be announced soon.
Help us “Book It to the Parks,” Wednesday, June 21
On Wednesday, June 21, community members are invited to help us commemorate the parks’ new Little Free Libraries. Dozens of authors, civic leaders, and community volunteers will join a day-long read-a-thon by reading a children’s book at one of 50 Minneapolis recreation centers that will be unveiling new Little Free Libraries on June 21. Guest readers at Book It to the Parks include:
- Minnesota Public Radio hosts and staff members, including Steve Seel and Julie Amacher of Classical MPR, Jim McGuinn of The Current, and Molly Bloom and Marc Sanchez of “Brains On!”
- Margret Aldrich, author of The Little Free Library Book
- Rapper Carnage the Executioner (Terrell Woods)
- Jayne Miller, Superintendent of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
- Lea B. Olsen, FOX sports commentator and former Gopher basketball player
- Kristi Pearson, Executive Director of Friends of the Hennepin County Library
- Children’s author Phyllis Root
- R.T. Rybak, President & CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation
For more information and a full schedule of read-a-thon events on June 21, visit www.minneapolisfoundation.org/BookIt.
Thanks to the community partners who donated books to fill the new Little Free Libraries: Anonymous, Coffee House Press, Graywolf Press, Bev Hlavac, Milkweed Editions, Minneapolis Parks Foundation, The Minneapolis Foundation, John Owens, Star Bright Books, University of Minnesota Press, and Ruth Usem.
Thanks to Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Jade Logistics, Little & Co., Minnesota School of Botanical Art, and Standard Water Control Systems, Inc. and its employees for their contributions to the new Little Free Libraries.