In December 2014, local Rexburg resident Kimberly Weatherston received a simple, handmade gift from her grandfather. He crafted a large wooden box as a birthday present that would live outside her home and serve the community as a mini library.
Knowing how much she loved to read, Weatherston’s grandfather wanted to give her something that would share her love with others. Thus, Little Free Library #49143 was born.
The wooden box library sits outside of Weatherston’s Rexburg home, located at 112 Tamarack Ave.
Weatherston stocks the library with books she finds for cheap at second-hand stores and books donated by friends. She tries to restock books when she notices the library looking bare but makes a conscious effort to restock on the first Sunday of each month.
She takes the time to log many of the books into BookCrossing, a website where readers can track used books from reader to reader.
Weatherston tries to find books that she particularly enjoys to add to the library. She even started to stock the library with movies, games, toys and collectibles.
“Several years ago I started upcycling books and board games into cool stuff,” Weatherston said. “There really is something for everyone.”
Weatherston’s Little Free Library can hold about 60 books. Members of the community are encouraged to take a book and leave one in its place, although it’s not required.
The Little Free Library movement was originally started in 2009 by Todd H. Bol in Hudson, Wisconsin. According to the Little Free Library website, Bol built the first library box in honor of his mother, a schoolteacher who loved to read. The program has since morphed into a global book-sharing movement and subsequent nonprofit organization.
Bol passed away in October 2018 due to complications from pancreatic cancer, however, his Little Free Libraries live on in his legacy, giving people around the world access to free books and a sense of community.
That sense of community is what Weatherston hopes to add to Rexburg; one book at a time.