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Take a book, leave a book

Little Free Library now in Manawa

By Jane Myhra

A Little Free Library is now available in Manawa, thanks to the efforts of Van and Nancy Johnson.

The Little Free Library is located in Manawa at the Depot Street entrance to the Little Wolf River Trail, just north of the Manawa United Methodist Church.

Van Johnson, a retired finish carpenter, designed and built the little library. He and his wife, Nancy, will serve as the stewards of the library and maintain it.

“We have noticed Little Free Libraries when visiting other cities, and thought it would be a positive addition in Manawa,” Nancy said.

The goal is to provide books for everyone any time of the day on a “take a book, leave a book” basis.

The project was self-financed by the Johnsons. They received a donation of the mounting bracket from Dave Abrahamson at ABES and the Craig family donated the location.

Manawa’s Little Free Library is registered on the Little Free Library website (littlefreelibrary.org) and included on the website’s world map.

“Anyone can use the Little Free Library, and please be respectful,” Nancy said.

Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization, based in Hudson, that supports the worldwide movement to offer free books housed in small containers to members of the local community.

The organization’s mission is to “Promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.”

It all started in 2009 when Todd Bol, of Hudson, mounted a wooden container designed to look like a school house on a post on his lawn as a tribute to his mother, who was a book lover and school teacher. The idea spread rapidly.

On Oct. 27, 2015, Little Free Library was awarded the Library of Congress Literacy Award for its effective implementation of best practices in literacy and reading promotion.

As of January 2016, there are 36,000 Little Free Library exchanges around the world. They are represented in all 50 states and more than 70 countries.

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