by Marlys Kruger
Residents in both Colfax and Elk Mound may have noticed a small, colorful wooden box standing on one of their village streets the past couple of weeks. The boxes, two of 10 that have been placed at various sites around Dunn County, are called a Little Free Library and are filled with books that are free for the taking by the public. The concept of the boxes are to “take one, donate one” meaning anyone is entitled to borrow books but they should return them when they are done, and they may donate a book they may not want anymore from their own collection.
The Menomonie Optimist Club began the program for the county and the boxes were built by members of an Elk Mound High School construction class, taught by Lucas Audorff One is located in front of the Colfax Dental Wellness Clinic on Main Street, while another is located near the Elk Mound Village Hall. The one in Colfax and one near Stepping Stones, an emergency shelter and food pantry in Menomonie, were painted by Jacob Schindler of Colfax.
According to the Little Free Library website, the idea was to set boxes up in neighborhoods where there may not be a library close by, giving kids and adults an opportunity to borrow books and get to know their neighbors in the process.
“We decided at one of our meetings we wanted to do a project that would be useful to a lot of people in many different neighborhoods and communities,” Dennis Spader, a member of the Optimist Club said. “We have several of the boxes in the Menomonie area along with the ones in Elk Mound and Colfax, and we want to place one in Boyceville and maybe Sand Creek. We heard that most of the time, the boxes get full because people like to donate books they are done with from home. We will check on them from time to time and if they are full, we will bring some of the books somewhere else for others to enjoy,” he added.
Many of you from the Colfax area may remember Jacob Schindler from information in The Messenger previously detailing his newly found painting skills. Jacob, age 19, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum at age two and is non-verbal. His mother Tina was looking for a project that would hold his interest and together, they discovered his talent for painting. Many of his abstract canvas paintings are now on display in various Mayo Clinics in Wisconsin and Iowa. He also paints handbags that are for sale in various locations. Spader became aware of Jacob and his artistic talents and asked him to paint two of the book boxes, according to Tina.
“Jacob does abstract painting so there is no right or wrong when it comes to colors or designs,” Tina said. “They brought the boxes right to our house for him to paint. We are all very proud of the job he did and he is very happy when he sees them on the street,” she added.
Books should be available in the boxes already and are ready for borrowing and donating.