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Cache Valley residents embrace book-sharing through use of Little Free Libraries

The Herald Journal
Marie Hardman, Jainee Bingham, Eliza Love, Kate Lova and Miliy Haward pose for a picture next to Darcy Hardman's little library in Smithfield.

Editor’s note: Herald Journal correspondent Cindy Knowles wrote this story about Little Free Libraries as part of an ongoing series called “Cache Valley People.” Before she finished the article, the topic made local news with the vandalism of a little library in Hyde Park. The connection between her story and the vandalism is purely coincidental.

Mandilyn Zehna saw her first little library in Boise, and then she saw another one in Miami. She had always wanted to be an English teacher or a librarian and was fascinated and inspired by the personal library concept.

She did some research and discovered that the Little Free Library program was created in 2009 by Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin. He built a one-room schoolhouse model to share free books and honor his mother. She was a school teacher who loved reading.

Mandilyn's crafty husband, James Zehna, decided to make her wish come true and surprised her by building a little library secretly and presenting it to her for Christmas eight years ago.

When James was updating his Sailor Jim Tattoo shop in Logan he used all the leftover wood scraps to create it. He used an old cupboard door for the library door and added a glass front with gold leaf lettering. The books could be seen without opening the door. The roof-line eves exactly mimic the shop eves, and the little library is posted right in front of their shop on 100 West in Logan. Read the rest of the story on HJnews.com.

This story is made possible thanks to a community reporting partnership between The Herald Journal and Utah Public Radio.