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Itty Bitty Libraries Bound For San Antonio Parks

There will be more free books to go around in San Antonio.  Community members gathered Monday at the San Antonio Central Library to construct Little Free Libraries. It’s a phenomenon that’s gone global.

"What I would do with that is I would make sure I drill a hole through it, and then we’ll put a screw through it," says Todd Bol.

Bol is teaching people how to build libraries. Little itty bitty libraries. Each is a decorated wooden box, 2-feet high by 2-feet wide, able to hold about 50 books. They look like little houses, and they’re adorned with welcome signs, signs that say 'Home,' children’s blocks, wooden cow and rabbit decorations and book club pins.   

Bol, who’s from Hudson, Wisconsin, is the executive director and creator of Little Free Library. He travels the world over giving these instructions. Today, he’s in San Antonio.

There are about 20 people here today building five libraries. They’re hammering, drilling, painting, and decorating. This is a book exchange—you can leave book for others, and you can take books to read. Sixty percent of the libraries are in people’s yards.

In 2009, Bol built the first library in his front yard.

"When I saw how people were so delighted at the first Little Free Library I built and they were so excited—they hugged it, they kissed it, they took pictures of it, they talked to it like it was a new puppy—it’s been called “a revolution in neighborhood conversation," Bol says.

It took off. There are now Little Free Libraries in about 90 countries. Globally, more than 40 million books are exchanged a year.

"Right now we’re in discussions to put them in every single refugee camp. We’re in discussions to put them in small villages across Africa," Bol says.

But they also serve the people who make them. Thirty-year-old Aracelie Molinar is building her first little free library today.

"I definitely feel happy and I’m proud to be serving the community. That’s always been a passion of mine since I was a kid," Molinar says.

In Texas, much of the funding for the Little Free Libraries comes from a private donor, Robert Hoffman, of El Paso. The libraries built here are going to neighborhood parks in San Antonio.