The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

September 8, 2012

Little libraries boosting big-time reading

Joplin library No. 1308 now ‘open’ for patrons

JOPLIN, Mo. — In the shade of the Community of Christ church sign sits Joplin’s newest library — a doll-house-sized structure, complete with shingled roof and Plexiglass door — with nearly a dozen neatly stacked books inside: romance novels, a mystery/thriller and a pristine edition of “Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul.”

The concept behind Joplin’s first Little Free Library is quite simple, said Joplin resident Terry McDermid, who acts as the library’s steward. “If you see a book you want to read, take it ... and share it with others.”

Here’s how it works. You set up a small box, looking something like a bird house or child’s doll house, atop a post. Fill that decorated box (with hinged door) with a dozen or so books. Tell friends and neighbors about the box and books. Stop by again and see what books have been grabbed for a read and what new ones have been added by others. Thumb through the stack and select a book you haven’t read yet. It’s really that easy.

“We were No. 1308, but I believe they’re getting close to 2,000 libraries now worldwide,” McDermid said of the little libraries.

The goal, she said, is to have more of the tiny libraries built than the 2,509 Carnegie libraries constructed by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in the United States and around the world throughout the early 1900s.

Carnegie was passionate about books, libraries and free access to literature when he donated the money to have the libraries built. That same passion for books and knowledge is what’s fueling the construction of the little libraries all across American and around the world, McDermid said.

“We’re hoping that we’re just the first of what will be many (established) in Joplin,” she said.

Because the 1212 Goetz Blvd. library is the city’s first little library, the book titles are wide ranging. But if more libraries pop up in the future, they can focus on specific subjects.

“That’s what I see,” McDermid said. “This corner can have mystery (books), this corner will be fantasy (books).” She even spoke about one little library in another state located at a dog park, with books centered around animals and pets. The sky’s the limit to what the themes can be, she said.

“We just want people to know it’s OK to (open up the library’s door) and look and take,” she said with a chuckle. Though it may feel like it, you are not stealing from the church. “If you’re walking and you see a book you want, take it, and then the next time you come back, put a new book in there” or put the old book back inside.

Joplin’s library was built and donated by inmates at the Prairie Du Chien Correctional Institution in Wisconsin. It was a gift by the inmates to the residents of Joplin following the May 22, 2011, tornado, McDermid said.

“We’re excited to have the library in our neighborhood. In the past year, we’ve had families move in who had lost their homes in the tornado. The library can be a way for us to meet our new neighbors.

“I’ve read stories about people who have put it up and they’ve ended up meeting more neighbors with the books than they had for years previously.”

Other Missouri locations with little free libraries are Ballwin, Blue Springs, Marshall, Tecumseh and University City.

The closest little library to Joplin is located just across the Kansas border in Baxter Springs — No. 891. There are five little libraries located in Fayetteville, Ark. There are no libraries in the state of Oklahoma.

Established in 2009

Little Free Library was established by two men, Todd Bol and Rick Brooks, in 2009. The two men “shared a commitment to service and the quality of community life around the world,” according to

Text Only
Local News
  • Carthage prepares for Marian Days

    The 37th annual Marian Days celebration will start in two weeks, and planning is well under way for the event that will bring tens of thousands of Catholics of Vietnamese descent to Carthage.

    July 23, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: It’s not Mayberry, but Carthage is close

    When I was a kid, I wanted to live in Mayberry. In a way, I suppose I still want to live in Mayberry, the fictional town featured in the classic Andy Griffith show of the 1960s.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Miami council waives fees for barbecue event

    The Miami City Council voted Tuesday to waive $3,750 in usage fees for Miami Elks Lodge No. 1320 for an upcoming barbecue championship at the Miami Fairgrounds.

    July 23, 2014

  • Joplin couple indicted in child porn case

    A federal grand jury indicted a Joplin couple Wednesday for alleged sexual exploitation of a second child in addition to a girl who was the subject of a preceding indictment of the husband for allegedly producing and distributing child pornography.

    July 23, 2014

  • Galena council rescinds landfill decisions

    The Galena City Council voted Wednesday to rescind decisions it made two weeks ago regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 23, 2014

  • Missouri attorney general defends his support of Amendment 1

    With a large cornfield behind him and campaign signs all around, Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster appeared Wednesday at the David Collard farm to tout Amendment 1, an Aug. 5 ballot measure that would make the “right to farm” part of the state constitution.

    July 23, 2014

  • Joplin school board reviews audit procedures

    A team from the Missouri State Auditor’s Office has begun requesting documents in its task to audit the operations and management of the Joplin School District, the audit manager told the Board of Education on Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin man to stand trial in accident case

    A passenger accused of causing an accident on Interstate 44 in Joplin that injured three others as well as himself was ordered bound over for trial Tuesday on three felony counts.

    July 22, 2014

  • Pseudoephedrine sales in Pittsburg to require prescription

    Starting Friday, those who purchase pseudoephedrine and related products in Pittsburg will need a prescription to do so.

    July 22, 2014

  • r072214soroptimist3.jpg Volunteers spend week providing camp experience to foster youths

    Karen McGlamery is a massage therapist. Terri Falis-Cochran is a finance manager. Jane McCaulley is a retired art teacher. But for a week each summer, the three are among dozens of area residents who become camp counselors.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

Must Read


Have you ever served as a volunteer for your state's conservation department?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter