By Kelly Byer Casper Star-Tribune
CASPER, Wyo. — Homeowners across Wyoming are opening their own libraries — filling nightstands, antique iceboxes and homebuilt boxes with books.
One sits at the intersection of South Durbin and East 11th streets in Casper and there are two at community mailbox locations in Bar Nunn — one on Sunset Boulevard and the other on McMurry Boulevard. There are also Little Free Libraries in Cody and Thermopolis, according to www.littlefreelibrary.org.
“I’m just glad that it’s a positive thing that’s spreading, not only around our town but around the country,” said Bar Nunn Councilman Josh Brown.
For the town of Bar Nunn, the Little Free Libraries offer 24-7 access to books for residents with limited access to traditional public libraries. Brown said the little libraries have also become gathering places since being built and installed by a local Boy Scout Troop in June.
“Something like the Little Free Library not only allows people access, but allows them access on their schedule as well as increasing camaraderie amongst the citizens,” he said.
The idea for Little Free Libraries came west from Wisconsin, where they originated in 2009. Brown heard a story on National Public Radio and Pat Nagel, who created Casper’s only Little Free Library with her husband, read about the effort in an article. The boxes operate as a book exchange, where people can leave one and take another.
“It’s actually run pretty much on its own,” Nagel said. “We check it every so often.”
She repurposed a thrift store nightstand, filled it with about 20 books and set it on the corner in July. Since then, Nagel said she’s received positive feedback and has hopefully influenced future library stewards.
“I certainly would encourage other people to do it in their neighborhood,” she said. “It’s been a fun experience.”