Historical Village Features Two Little Free Libraries

Kristine Jorgensen, Guthrie County Historical Village curator, and Alex Krueger, president of the Guthrie County Historical Village Foundation, show off the newest addition to the Village. This “Little Free Library” was donated in memory of Betty J. Lippincott, has been installed near the schoolhouse, and is filled with books for children to borrow. This “Little Free Library” was installed in 2016, donated by Sandy Rhoten. There are more than 60,000 of these free lending libraries located in all 50 states and 80 countries.

By Susan Thompson

The latest addition to the Guthrie County Historical Village is a Little Free Library, donated in memory of Betty J. Lippincott, who passed away in August 2017. Lora Koch, who lives at Lake Panorama with her husband and two daughters, is Lippincott’s daughter.

“Reading was one of Mom's greatest pleasures throughout her life, and likely led to her profession as a teacher,” Koch says. “Growing up, our home was filled with books, and reading was always encouraged. My older sister and I are both avid readers, and Mom encouraged this in her grandchildren through birthday and Christmas gift cards to Barnes & Noble.”  

Little​ ​Free​ ​Library​ ​is​ ​a​ ​501(c)(3)​ ​nonprofit​ ​organization designed to inspire​ ​a​ ​love​ ​of​ ​reading and fosters neighborhood​ ​book​ ​exchanges​.​ ​In​ ​2009,​ ​Todd​ ​Bol​ ​built​ ​the​ ​first Little​ ​Free​ ​Library​ ​book​ ​exchange​ ​and​ ​placed​ ​it​ ​in​ ​his​ ​Hudson,​ ​Wisconsin,​ ​front​ ​yard​ ​to honor​ ​his​ ​mother.​ ​

The​ handmade​ ​book​ ​exchanges​ ​operate under ​the​ ​motto​ ​“Take​ ​a book.​ ​Return​ ​a​ ​book.​” The​ ​number​ ​of​ ​registered​ ​book exchanges​ ​has​ ​grown​ ​to​ ​more​ ​than​ ​60,000​ ​around​ ​the​ ​world,​ ​in​ ​all​ ​50​ ​states​ ​and​ ​in​ ​80 countries.​ ​

“When Mom was in hospice, I had several conversations with my friend, Kristine Jorgensen, about a memorial donation. At some point, I told her we had a number of children's books for the Historical Village,” Koch says. “That led to the idea of a Little Free Library just for children's books.” 

This is the second Little Free Library for the Village. Jorgensen, the museum curator, was at Sandy Rhoten’s garage sale in Panora last year when she saw the library box Rhoten had in her front yard. Rhoten was moving to Des Moines, and didn’t plan to move the library, too. When Jorgensen expressed interest, Rhoten quickly donated it to the Village.

That first library carries the charter number 13322 and has its own Facebook page. It originally housed both adult and children’s books. But with the new library mounted closer to the ground to house children’s books, the original one now holds all adult books.

The Lippincott Library’s charter number is 63102. It includes a plaque honoring Betty Lippincott and a favorite Garrison Keillor quote — “A book is a gift you can open again and again.” The Library is installed near the back of the schoolhouse, with easy access from the main parking lot to the east. The original library is located near a smaller parking area on the north side of the Village.

Koch says her mother loved the Guthrie County Historical Village and would be pleased to be sharing books in such a special place. “Reading is truly a gift that lasts a lifetime, and we hope this will encourage many young readers,” she says. “If anyone has extra children’s books to share, I hope they will add them to the Lippincott Free Little Library.”

For​ ​more​ ​information,​ ​visit​ ​​www.littlefreelibrary.org​.