Rhoads Little Free Library

Murrieta, California | C.2019

Photo Credit: @hardcoverhippie

What started as Todd Bola’s tribute to his late mother is now a movement promoting literacy and community service through the free sharing of books. As of August 2019, there are over 90,000 “Little Free Libraries” dotting the landscapes of 91 countries — including the Rhoads Little Free Library, which opened that same month in California.

After Bola’s mother, a book lover and former school teacher, passed away, he decided to continue her book-loving legacy by building a wooden bookcase on his front lawn. He designed it to look like a one-room schoolhouse and filled it with books for passersby to take and return at their own leisure.

The idea took off quickly, and Little Free Libraries started popping up all over the world. The Rhoads Little Free Library, named for steward Kerri Rhoads, is located on Holstead Avenue in Murrietta, California. Library stewards can make use of pre-made libraries, or create their own. Rhoads opted to repurpose hers with paint, knobs, lights and plexiglass windows.

Bola passed away in 2018, but not before satisfying his primary goal: to surpass the number of libraries founded by U.S. steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie (2,509). At the time of Bola’s death, more than 75,000 Little Free Libraries had been registered across the world.

Today, the LFL community provides more than just accessible literature. In 2020, when the world was suffering a pandemic, many stewards and patrons began stocking LFLs with food, household items and essential supplies while taking extra precautions and promoting smart sanitation practices.

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