It’s a perfect day for Neighborhood House!  Madison, Wisconsin’s oldest community center, in business since 1916, is as welcoming as ever.  And the quiet presence of Little Free Library is definitely part of that welcome.  Amanda Ryan is directing a pretty steady stream of UW-Wisconsin volunteers who have been planning for weeks.

Todd Bol and Rick Brooks outside of Neighborhood House in Madison, WI

The downstairs gym is full of pre-school kids and their parents on Family Fun Day.  They’re all doing crafts, playing games, listening to music… and everybody gets at least one book!  Over the past year, books from the last Little Free Library book exchange day have been a steady source of reading materials for scores of kids who have never owned a book before.

The message stamped on these books is clear: Always a Gift; Never for Sale. But one never knows how far each book or each person reading it might have traveled.

Today, Sunday, six Native American guys are upstairs drumming and singing to prepare for their next pow wow.  The African and Ghana Associations will be here again this month, along with the Muslim Women’s Group, Caribbean Club, Bolivian Dancers, Hindu Dharma Circle and Taiko Japanese Drum Group.     At least two of the immigrant organizations who meet here are now organizing Good Global Neighbors Little Free Library projects in their home countries.

The Little Free Library at the Neighborhood House front door has gone through hundreds of books since spring. Donated by Little Free Library, it was installed and updated with help from the Capital Times Kids Fund.  It’s also doing its job in every way possible—building community, offering after schoolers good stuff to read, helping immigrants and university students alike to see what a real, welcoming neighborhood is all about.

Today’s Note about Near and Far–Two more very popular Libraries sit within a block or so of Neighborhood House.  One is next to the bus stop and the other at Indie Coffee. Both have served and survived more than a million Wisconsin sports fans in the past two years.  And they’ve been seen by more than 100 million television viewers…in Russia!

–Rick B.

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