NEWTON, NJ—On a sunny day in the beginning of May, Newton Girl Scout Troop 5688 unveiled their handmade, Little Free Library, located in the rain garden at Memory Park.

According to member Danielle Penny, the very first Little Free Library was built in 2009 by Todd Boi of Hudson, Wisconsin.

“He built it to resemble an old fashioned school house and put it up as a tribute to his late mother, who had been a teacher. His hope was to inspire the love of reading in his community by starting a neighborhood book exchange. The principal is simple- ‘Take a book, leave a book,’” Penny said.

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As the idea took hold and gained popularity throughout the community Boi gave away 30 Little Free Libraries to friends and his family.

The program has since then grown to include more than 75,000 libraries across 88 different countries and each year, according to Penny, “millions of books are exchanged with the aim of increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.”

Troop 5688, which includes members Penny, Ariel Franzone, Ava Bryski, Kelsey Snellen, Molly Salomon, and Maeve Daingerfield, chose to build and place their Little Free Library as their Bronze Award project. They felt that this would have the greatest impact on the community and their hope is that their friends and neighbors “might be inspired to borrow a new book or perhaps share an old favorite, that families might find a great book to read together or a child might find the perfect book to read all by themselves for the very first time.”

Penny said the troop and a lot of fun working together to plan, build and paint the library and are so proud to be able to add it to the thousands that already exist around the world. 

The troop thanked their leaders for all their love and support for them during the making of the project. They also thanked the Home Depot of Newton who donated the lumber and supplies as well as Debbie Danielson and the Newton Department of Public Works crew who prepared the rain garden for the library.

“Our troop hopes that this Little Free Library will help fuel out community’s passion for reading and who knows, maybe we will see more of these Little Free Libraries around town in the future,” Penny said.