By Andrea Cordle
Leeanne Chandler loves to read.
“Books have always been a big part of my life,” said the Westgate resident.
When she was young, Chandler dreamed of owning her own book store. Now, that dream has become a reality – of sorts.
Chandler has installed a Little Free Library at her residence, 165 South Roys Ave. She has the first registered little library in the 43204 zip code.
The idea for a Little Free Library came to Chandler after visiting her hometown of Seattle, Wash.
“They were just popping up in the neighborhood where I grew up and I thought it would be a good idea for the Westgate neighborhood,” she said.
The Little Free Library movement started in Wisconsin in 2009. Creator Todd H. Bol built one in honor of his mother, who was a teacher. He placed the little library on a post in his front yard.
In 2012, the Little Free Library was established as a nonprofit organization.
According to the organization’s website, its mission is to promote literacy and a love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide. It also serves to build a sense of community.
The motto is, “Take a book, return a book.”
Since January 2016, there were 36,000 registered Little Free Libraries worldwide.
Chandler’s boyfriend built her library for her birthday. She asked it be built in the shape of a TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) time machine based on the show “Doctor Who.” Chandler was inspired by the show because she sees reading as a way of traveling to a different time and place.
Chandler’s Little Free Library can hold about 40 books. She likes to keep a variety in there.
“There are children’s books, books for adults, gardening books – a little something for everyone,” said Chandler.
The library is meant to be shared by the community. Anyone interested can take a book and either read it and return it or keep the book, but replace it with another.
Chandler plans to keep her library festive. For Valentine’s Day, she put red colored books in the library. It will be green books for St. Patrick’s Day. She also plans to put holiday-themed books in the library for Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween.
“I have had a lot of positive feedback from my neighbors and I want to encourage others to install a library,” said Chandler.
According to Chandler, the westside area could use more little libraries. She said other areas have several registered libraries, like Clintonville.
According to littlefreelibrary.org, anyone (an individual or organization) can build a Little Free Library. The cost to build and install can range from $5 to $150. There is a one-time registration fee of $45.
Chandler is also accepting book donations for her library. Anyone wishing to donate books can either drop them off in the library or leave the book on Chandler’s front porch.
For more information on Leeanne Chandler’s library, email her at email@example.com.
Little Free Library plans to grow to 100,000 libraries worldwide by the end of 2017. For more information on the Little Free Library, visit littlefreelibrary.org.