One of the things that seem to always make us smile while we are out and about in Hillsboro, Oregon are Little Free Libraries. They go by many names, The Little Library, Wee Free Library, Little Free Library, etc. But no matter what we call them one thing is clear, they are popular and fun! People love them so much now that they are sort of an American phenomenon.
According to Wikipedia:
The first Little Free Library was built in 2009 by the late Todd Bol in Hudson, Wisconsin. Bol mounted a wooden container, designed to look like a one-room schoolhouse, on a post on his lawn and filled it with books as a tribute to his late mother, a book lover and school teacher who had recently died.
The Little Free Library is actually a registered 501 C3 organization and you can click on that link to learn more about them. Many of the libraries popping up in Hillsboro are registered and associated with that organization. Many others are independent residents or other groups. No matter, it is all based on a good cause. Mostly these artistic little structures, which are typically pole-mounted, are filled with books! Having said that we have seen many distributing face masks during COVID, which was a greatly needed feature in the community. It is not uncommon to find water, snack bars, and small toys and other fun items being offered, all for free.
Here in Hillsboro the movement took hold a few years back. Since that time we have seen more and more of them popping up! In a wonderful development, local leader Annette Cornish created a Facebook page for documenting them. Check that out right here.
They may be small but they are mighty! My grandkids smile when we go by my Orenco neighbors place and see what is in her box! One of the keys to these little miracles is to leave a book or item when you take one. That is not a mandatory rule because this is more about giving. But it is wonderful to share so we usually take a book or something fun like an Action figure or toy.
Robin Mann commented about her Little Free Library and helping to get the movement started here locally.
We installed the library in October 2013. I had read about the Little Free Library organization and a woman in Portland who had installed one and was inspired to put one up at my house. We had, at that time, a basement full of boxes of books that we’d enjoyed over the years and were ready to pass along. I decided to make the Little Free Library a birthday gift to myself. It was built by a family friend, who did a great job; it’s held up well and has been completely weatherproof! I’ve got a few pictures of when it was installed. A couple of weeks later, we received our charter sign and held a sign hanging celebration with friends, family and neighbors.
We recognize and thank Robin for her leadership and stewardship of the movement!
Here is another one!
You get it right? This is one of the best forms of citizenship there is. The Herald has as one of our core tenants the goal to celebrate true citizens and great people! All of these libraries are an extension of the people behind them. I am proud to know many of them and while I have not joined the fold we did create the Orenco Wishing Tree, there is a movement for things like that too.
Hillsboro is at the end of the day about the people. The smokestacks and factories and the growing noise and crime and houselessness all fail to stop the spirit of our people. Funny thing, but true, that a small little structure and some bright paint and creativity can change the world. Like any powerful idea, the little libraries are doing just that!
Have a Magical Hillsboro Day everyone!