Blaine High School technology education teacher Tim Nestrud is on a mission to have his Woods II classes build Little Free Libraries for all of Anoka-Hennepin’s 24 elementary schools, starting with the ones that feed into BHS.
Little Free Libraries are structures that sit outside and allow community members to exchange books, taking one and leaving one.
The first-ever Little Free Library was erected in Hudson, Wisconsin, five years ago. Todd Bol build a model of a one-room schoolhouse, filled it with books and placed it in his front yard for the community to use, according to the Little Free Library website. The concept spread quickly, and as of the beginning of this year, there were more than 15,000 Little Free Libraries across the world – on every continent besides Antarctica.
After seeing a Little Free Library in his neighborhood, Nestrud thought it would be a good project for his students.
“I wanted them to do some type of a community project,” Nestrud said. “It ties in with reading, which everybody knows (is) the big key block on whether or not you have successful education.”
Nestrud’s 10 Woods II students divided into pairs to build five Little Free Libraries for elementary schools that they attended: Jefferson, Johnsville, McKinley, Sand Creek and University Avenue elementary schools.
Blaine’s carpentry club donated the materials and the robotics club held a book drive to fill the five libraries up with reading materials before they were donated.
In May, completed Little Free Libraries were presented to parent teacher organizations at Johnsville, McKinley, Sand Creek and University Avenue elementries. The schools will put the libraries up in their communities or outside on school grounds.
Jefferson Elementary School will receive its Little Free Library at a later date, Nestrud said.
The class received a grant from the Anoka-Hennepin Educational Foundation, which will allow next year’s Woods II students to build another five or six libraries.
Olivia Koester is at