Char­lie Ali­son

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - PROFILES -

“Not long af­ter my wife and I got mar­ried, she pre­sented me with my first project. A friend of hers had posted a Face­book note about a project up in Wis­con­sin called Lit­tle Free Li­brary. Ali­son loved the idea. She reads far more widely than me and loves li­braries. She works at the Fayet­teville Pub­lic Li­brary now and wanted us to put up a Lit­tle Free Li­brary in our yard. She checked the na­tional web­site and re­al­ized there wasn’t an LFL in Arkansas yet, so she made me swear se­crecy while I built a lit­tle li­brary so that ours would be the first one in the state. So there I am saw­ing up wood on the front porch and build­ing this box, and the neigh­bors stop and ask what I’m build­ing. I tell them I can’t tell them. They then start guess­ing. Bar­bara, who lives next door, asked hope­fully whether it was a trap for ground­hogs, which were plagu­ing the back­yard veg­etable gar­dens at the time. I said no. An­other asked if it was a re­cy­cling bin. No. It went that way for a week. Fi­nally, Ali­son, our son Luke and I erected it next to the side­walk with a lit­tle con­crete step for chil­dren to sit on, and chris­tened it with cham­pagne that flowed in its gut­ters. Todd Bol, the ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the na­tional Lit­tle Free Li­brary or­ga­ni­za­tion, came to Fayet­teville and vis­ited. It has cop­per gut­ters and down­spouts and a minia­ture weather vane and re­mains stocked pretty much on its own, although Ali­son some­times adds chil­dren’s books be­cause we have lots of kids in the sur­round­ing neigh­bor­hoods. Our LFL is No. 227, and there are more than 50,000 reg­is­tered Lit­tle Free Li­braries around the world to­day.”

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