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Sisseton Has State's First Little Free Library

October 23, 2012, 5:15 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Sisseton Has State's First Little Free Library

If someone asked if you'd want a bunch of people standing around your front yard, you might say, "no thanks." But a Sisseton couple is asking people to do just that. And for the sake of literacy, they're asking you to consider the same.

"This was a birthday gift to me and a pretty unique one," Jane Rasmussen said.

She's talking about a Little Free Library. It’s basically a glorified box sitting in her front yard with books in it. People can take a book out, put another one in and continue the cycle of book sharing.

Nicci Lundeen works for Head Start in Sisseton and came across the little library while walking by the Rasmussen's house with some of her pre-schoolers.

"The kids really enjoyed picking out books and now they know they can stop with their families and exchange or bring their own books or get different ones. They're pretty excited about it," Lundeen said.

Little Free Library is a non-profit organization that started a few years ago in Wisconsin. It's spread to countries around the world. But the Rasmussens’ library is the only one registered in South Dakota to date.

The Rasmussens expect more little libraries to pop up in their neighborhood and they hope that they spread throughout the entire state.

"You think about all the small towns in states like South Dakota that maybe don't have a library anymore and this is a way that people could share their books and keep that idea of literacy alive for little kids and all ages," Rasmussen said.

The Rasmussens have enjoyed people spending time in their yard looking at the little book collection. When they registered, they learned they were number 3,012 to do so. They're anxious to see excitement about reading increase as that number does too.

"Oh, I think it's wonderful. Literacy is so important to the kids," Lundeen said.

"It's simple. It's just a simple way to share," Rasmussen said.

The Rasmussens say this movement isn't a competition to local libraries. They hope it'll help them by increasing an excitement for reading.

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