Throckmorton County has been "put on the map" once again for a reason that will add to the list of good things our community has to offer. Throckmorton is now officially a member of the Little Free Library Shop Organization, which includes all fifty states, 70 countries, and over 40,000 communities around the world that have joined in on the movement of promoting literacy.
The movement got its start in Hudson, Wisconsin, when in 2009 a man named Todd Bol decided to build a small model of a one room school house as a tribute to his mother who was a school teacher and loved to read. He filled it with books, put it on a post and placed in his front yard. He then added a sign that said, "Free books". The idea was well received by his neighbors and Bol built 12 more free libraries and gave them away. Rick Brooks of the University of Wisconsin at Madison who was a youth and community development educator with experience in social marketing saw Bol’s project and the potential for social enterprises. The two men were inspired by several ideas, one of them being Andrew Carnegie and his support for 2,509 free public libraries at the turn of the 19th century. In fact, they made it their goal to establish the same number of libraries as Carnegie and hopefully more with the help of stewards around the world.
Fast forward to 2016, in Electra, TX. Kelly Bowlin (mother of Ashley Redwine, and former Throckmorton community member) learned about the Little Free Library Shop while in Ft. Worth. At first passing, she thought it was a big bird house in a yard, but after asking her husband Steve to circle the block, she found out it was a small free library. She researched the information she found online about LFL and especially liked the fact that it would benefit her town and its children. She decided she wanted to bring LFL to her city of Electra so she commissioned the help of her father, Jim Millsap, who is a skilled carpenter. The father and daughter team quickly placed five free libraries in Electra.
Kelly's daughter, Ashley, who teachers first grade at Throckmorton ISD, decided she wanted to bring a library to Throckmorton and with the help of her parents and grandparents, did just that. As a steward to the organization, Ashley was responsible for finding a location for the library and online registration. She approached community member Trent McKnight about placing the library downtown in front of the old theater which is owned by McKnight. He gladly agreed and the Little Free Library had its needed home. Now that the library is in place, she will continue to make sure that it is always full of books. Ashley says she has already been contacted by several citizens who would like to donate books for the cause. She encourages others to always use the Depot Library but feels this will be a fun way to spark readers' interest and lead them to all of the other books that the Depot has to offer. She also commented that since the Little Free Library was a worldwide organization, readers that participate in the location map found on the internet, will know that when traveling through our town, they can make a stop and pick up a new book and even leave one if they like.
The Little Free Library Organization has been on the pages of Better Homes and Gardens, Oprah Winfrey’s O! Magazine, The Rotarian, and Midwest Living. Called a "global movement by the New York Times, The Huffington Post, and others, it has been recognized by the Library of Congress for promoting literacy and the love of reading. It is a 501 (c) (3) organization and those interested in learning more can go to https://littlefreelibrary.org, Facebook, or Twitter. The organization also has a Pintrest page for those that would like ideas on building a library and for stewardship.