Little Free Libraries come to Presque Isle

9 years ago

     PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Thanks to a $1,000 grant from the Maine Humanities Council, local residents and visitors alike can have access to books literally around the clock.
The grant funding allowed for the purchase of three Little Free Libraries in Presque Isle.
According to Gail Roy, assistant dean of learning resources at NMCC, Little Free Libraries are free-standing structures installed throughout a community that provide an easy means to share books and promote reading and literacy.
“Based on the concept ‘take a book, leave a book,’ these libraries were first developed by Todd Bol in Hudson, Wisc., as a way to honor his mother — a teacher and a lifelong reader,” said Roy. “Little Free Libraries are installed in high-traffic locations in a community so that books can be donated and shared 24/7.
“Community members take and leave books and create active reading communities in their town or city,” she said. “These libraries promote reading and literacy, and complement area library services by providing continued access to free books after local libraries’ regular operating hours. We are grateful to the Maine Humanities Council for funding this project. These libraries will help to promote reading and literacy in our community by providing free books 24/7.”
The free-standing libraries, which are made of wood and glass, are placed outdoors and are built to withstand the elements. They are intended to provide easy access to free books and their use is based on the honor system. The libraries have signs that read “Take a Book, Leave a Book.”
“The Little Free Libraries provide reading material at no cost to anyone coming to the community of Presque Isle, regardless of their economic situation or whether they are a resident or just passing through,” said Lisa Neal Shaw, reference librarian at the Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Library. “Visitors should take a book because they can, and the freedom to read is a liberty which libraries champion and which must never be taken for granted.”
Shaw said leaving books at the Little Free Libraries is a good way to share an even greater story.
“Reading is a surprisingly social activity. Book clubs and apps like GoodReads are still enormously popular. If someone has been fortunate enough to have acquired through gift or purchase a really great book, how much greater the enjoyment to pay it forward and share,” she said, noting that as with all public libraries, the Little Free Libraries are intended for all ages to enjoy. “It would be interesting to see what spontaneous conversations about different books spring up around the community as a result of these Little Free Libraries.”
According to the Little Free Library website (, between 10,000-11,000 libraries are in the world in 52 countries. On average, each library goes through 25 books per month.
As part of the grant, the Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Library and the Edmunds Library at NMCC will initially stock the libraries with gently used materials. The structures are currently inside the William V. Haskell Community Center, the Gathering Place Senior Center, and Presque Isle City Hall. They will be installed outside these locations later this summer.
“Sometime in late July or early August, NMCC instructor Frank Pytlak will help with installing the Little Free Libraries outside,” said Shaw. “They are built to withstand the elements and to protect the books, as well.
“All of us involved with this project are so pleased to be able to offer access to free books on nights, weekends and holidays,” she said. “Access to books should — and now can — be available 24/7.”
Grant partners include the Presque Isle Historical Society, Presque Isle Middle School, Turner Memorial Library and the Edmunds Library.
The Presque Isle Little Free Libraries will be registered online. FMI, contact Roy by email at or call 768-2734, or Shaw at or 764-2571.