Detroit — The first of 20 new tiny libraries for Detroit was installed Thursday near a park on the city’s west side.
During a ceremonial dig, a small, glass-enclosed wooden box was erected next to the North Rosedale Park Community House. Todd Bol, who founded the Little Free Libraries movement, hauled the libraries in a trailer from his home in Wisconsin.
The little libraries are erected in public places and filled with donated books; passersby are urged to take one or leave one.
Bol put up the first Little Free Library in front of his home in Wisconsin five years ago in memory of his mother.
Now there are an estimated 20,000 little libraries worldwide, from Russia and Ghana to Antarctica and remote Canadian islands.
“These libraries open that door to the sweet side of us where we really want to get along with our neighbors, and we really want to help each other,” he said.
Among those at Thursday’s ceremony was Marsha Bruhn, a 40-year resident of North Rosedale Park and chairwoman of The Legacy Project, a fundraising effort to renovate the North Rosedale Park Community House and grounds.
“This becomes one more reason to come to the park,” she said.
“We already have an active walking group, and this is like the heart of the community.”
Besides North Rosedale Park, other Little Free Libraries that Bol is giving the city will be installed at Detroit Loves You Airbnb, Murphy Play Lot in Corktown, Westminster Church in northwest Detroit, the Ruth Ellis Drop in center in Highland Park, Detroit’s Write A House, and residential homes in Palmer Woods, Palmer Park and Boston Edison.
Some will be installed in city parks, including Clark, Weiss, Hawthorne, Bennett, LaSalle Ford, Lafayette Central, Wilson, Edmore-Marbud and Butler.
Bol pledged to give Detroit 20 of the miniature libraries after Kim Kozlowski of Ferndale launched a fundraising campaign in September to build 313 Little Free Libraries to promote literacy and community engagement. Kozlowski, a Detroit News staff writer, is working to raise $25,000 on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo.com.
“I thought it would be exciting to raise money and put the libraries in various places around Detroit,” said Kozlowski. “We’ve had some pretty bad monikers, like murder capital, and I thought we could flip it and make it the little library capital.”