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Knox, grandson construct Little Free Library in Rochester Mills

September 23, 2013

After reading an article in the American Profile magazine, Richard Knox of Rochester Mills was inspired by a piece on Little Free Libraries. A Little Free Library is a box full of books, and anyone can stop by and pick up a book or put a book in to share. Working together, Knox and his grandson, Canaan Knox, built a Little Free Library of their own. Knox welcomes anybody who so wishes to stop by and check it out. Pictured with the finished project are Canaan (left) and Richard.

ROCHESTER MILLS — Sometimes, the most amazing ideas can come from something we have read.

For one man, that idea came when he opened the pages of the American Profile magazine, a publication that is inserted into the newspaper.

Richard Knox was reading an article on how an 81-year-old Georgia man had built a Little Free Library for his community.

Inspired by the idea, Knox decided that he, too, wanted to build one at his home in Rochester Mills.

The idea behind Little Free Library was started by Todd Bol, of Hudson, Wisc.

Bol built a small model of a schoolhouse in memory of his mother, then filled it with books.

He then posted it in front of his house, with a sign that read "Free Books."

The purpose of the project was to provide his neighbors and fellow community members with books to read.

It became a huge success, so Bol built a few more and gave them away.

His project has inspired many, like Knox, to create their own Little Free Library.

How it works is an individual creates a little box, which may resemble anything he or she chooses — whether it be a little schoolhouse, a school bus or just a decorated box.

Then, the person stocks the LFL with a variety of good, quality books.

Neighbors and anyone else passing by are encouraged to stop and take whatever book they want. They may then return the book, or bring another in its place.

LFL's mission is to promote literacy and a love for reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.

Its goal is to build more than 2,510 libraries around the world.

"I had decided that I had too many books around, so I decided to make a library and put some out," said Knox.

His wife, Aileen, was thrilled at the idea and encouraged him to pursue it.

When it came to building it, Knox had some help from his grandson, Canaan, a 9th grader at PAHS.

Knox said that it took no more than three days to complete the project.

After it was built, Knox received some help from his granddaughter, Jeanna Lattimer, who put the lettering on it.

"Canaan had come up with the idea of building a mailbox for his dad, so they had already worked together on that," said Aileen.

Knox made the box resemble a little schoolhouse, since he had once attended the old, one-room country schoolhouse in Covode. He even named the box after it.

Once the project was finished, Knox registered it on the Internet.

The cost to register was $25, and he received a sign and a number for it.

Though many who create an LFL choose to place it by the roadside, Knox was hesitant to.

"They decided that people may not see it when driving by so fast, so they put it back a little and made a sign at the end of the driveway," said Aileen.

The LFL sits a few feet from the road, but is still reachable by the half-circle driveway just off of Route 119 in the front of the house.

"I didn't want it to be down near the busy road, so I put a sign near the road to direct people up," said Knox.

The LFL is filled with some of Knox's favorite books that he wishes to share with anyone who stops by.

"I have all kinds of books; I especially like the western romances, so there are some of those in there," he said.

Knox said that he also has some large-print books and Readers Digest books.

"There is no money exchange; just take a book or leave one," said Knox.
One thing that Knox has added is a notebook, so that those who stop by may sign in if they wish to do so.

"Anyone can stop by; they don't have to sign the little book, but I would like to know how many stop in," he said.

Knox said that so far, everyone he has talked to thinks its a great idea, but only one person has stopped by.

"I really like the idea and hope more people will use it," said Knox.
His LFL is located along Route 119 in Rochester Mills. Just look for the sign.

If you have any books you would like to donate or if you have questions, call Richard and Aileen at 724-286-3358.

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