Richard Murray and his Little Free Library in Wilmette. (WBBM Newsradio)

'Little Free Library' Founder Dies

October 18, 2018 - 5:12 pm

HUDSON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin man who founded Little Free Library, a project that now sets up boxes for sharing books around the world, has died. Todd Bol was 62.

A spokeswoman for Little Free Library says Bol died Thursday in a Minnesota hospice of complications from pancreatic cancer.

Bol designed and built the first Little Free Library at his home in Hudson, Wisconsin, in 2009, as a tribute to his mother, who was a teacher and book lover. Bol put up a miniature version of a one-room schoolhouse on a post outside his home, filled it with books and invited neighbors to borrow them.

The boxes have since popped up across the U.S. and spread to more than 80 countries, with more than 75,000 registered Little Free Libraries worldwide. The whimsical boxes invite passers-by to "take a book, share a book."

"What we're about is connecting people and communities and emphasizing the importance of reading," Bol told WBBM Newsradio in an interview earlier this year. "If we're going to maintain our democracy, we really have to have an educated population that knows how to critically think and be able to tell what's right, wrong and true."

Bol, a former middle-school teacher, said he was dyslexic. Though reading was still a challenge for him, he said, he managed to consume books at a regular clip.

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