'Little libraries' to encourage reading among kids and adults pop up around Hawaii

(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)

KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A popular trend that encourages reading among kids and adults on the mainland has made its way to Hawaii.

It's an idea that brings back an old past time — actually reading a book in your hand.

They're for the young and older and they come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. But all "little libraries" have a common mission: to promote and encourage literature.

The theory is pretty simple, chose a book, enjoy it, and bring it back or exchange it for another one.

"I like the idea of the kids' books for the kids. They got it about kids-level height and they can grab a book to keep them occupied," said Kailua resident Larry Lau.

"We have a lot of books lying around and we have kids' books. But I also found out that adults are interested in circulating some of the books they've already read," another Kailua resident Patrick Ayers said.

The idea started in Wisconsin in 2009. Todd Bol wanted to build a model of a one-room schoolhouse in honor of his mother who was a teacher and who loved to read.

The idea thrived, and there are now more than 50,000 registered Little Free Library book exchanges in every state. The trend has also expanded to over 70 countries.

There are 14 little libraries in Hawaii with one on Kauai, Maui and the Big Island, and 11 on Oahu.

"I'll look out on the front lawn and say, "Ooh! Another family!" said Dr. Susan Wurtzburg.

Dr. Wurtzburg's pop-up was shipped from Wisconsin and was one of the first in Kailua. She is a University of Hawaii professor who loves seeing books help build a community feeling.

"People come along in their bikes, on their skateboards, with their kids, they open up the door, they take out a book and they put one in," Dr. Wurtzburg said.

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