News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

July 3, 2014

Little Free Libraries make debut across Vigo County

Duke Energy Foundation supports brightly colored book-sharing stations

TERRE HAUTE — For folks young and older who can’t make it to the Vigo County Public Library to check out books, a new alternative has sprouted around the county.

Called the Little Free Library, the attractive book boxes officially opened Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Maple Avenue Nature Park. A group of VCPL staff then went to five other locations to load the little libraries with a variety of books.

The point is for people to take a book to read, and also to drop off a book to share.

“This gives library access to children and families who visit the parks, and to those people who can’t travel to the library itself,” said library director Kristi Howe of the project supported by the Duke Energy Foundation.

“I think this is something that encourages people to use the library and to recycle books,” said Rick Burger of Duke Energy.

The innovative lending spots are also located at the West Terre Haute West Vigo IGA; near playgrounds at Fairbanks, Fowler and Deming parks, and in the passenger loading area at the Terre Haute Transit Center at Ninth and Cherry streets.

A traveling little library also rides on the Wabash Valley Mobile Market, which was stopped Thursday at the nature park to bring books to those who were also buying fresh fruit and vegetables.

Mayor Duke Bennett said the concept of the Little Free Library intrigued him when he heard of it, and he feels it is a progressive move to get books into the hands of more people.

“This is one of those things that can make you think a bit,” he said. “It’s very striking when you see these Little Free Libraries. I hope it expands all over the city and county. Hopefully it will be a wild success.”

Howe said that each book dropped off by the library will contain a bookmark to explain the book-sharing concept. The Friends of the Library have provided many of the books that were placed into the brightly decorated boxes, she said. Other books may come from gently used materials, such as when the library orders multiple copies of top sellers, but later culls the number in circulation.

David Haynes, Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce president, agreed that the lending concept is a benefit to the community, and he led the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

At the city transit center, which sees hundreds of people pass through each day on local and national bus routes, the transit authority staff reported that people had already been using the Little Free Library before its official opening.

A maintenance worker there placed three books in the box on Wednesday, and by Thursday they were gone.

“I hope this works out well, and I hope people respect the box as well,” said Debbie Hensley, transit authority office manager. “A lot of our city riders do go to the library.”

Hensley said that while many people do not read while they are on city buses, the terminal also serves a Greyhound bus line.

“There are people waiting inside who have to kill time before their next bus arrives, so they will probably use it as well,” she said.

Howe said that one of the unexpected results of the Little Free Libraries is that people also derive pleasure from giving their own favorite books to share with others.

For more information about the Vigo County Public Library and its services, go online to

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.


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