Carol Hegel Lang poses for a photo by the Little Free Library she had built. The library is at her property at 806 Lincoln Ave.  --Kelli Lageson/Albert Lea Tribune
Carol Hegel Lang poses for a photo by the Little Free Library she had built. The library is at her property at 806 Lincoln Ave. -- Kelli Lageson/Albert Lea Tribune

Archived Story

The little library that could

Published 9:00am Saturday, October 26, 2013

An Albert Lea woman is hoping to spread her love of reading through caring for a Little Free Library.

A Little Free Library is a small book collection where anyone can borrow a book to read, with no time limits and no late fees. Albert Lean Carol Hegel Lang said she wanted to build a Little Free Library so that children all over the city have access to books. And even though the idea of the library is that children can borrow books and bring them back, Lang said if a child wants to keep the book that’s OK, too.

“I feel it’s important for every child to have a book,” Lang said.

Lang bought 48 books at the Salvation Army store and at another thrift store. She is also hoping people want to donate new or gently used children’s books to keep the library full. The library was installed last week.

Books are stocked into a Little Free Library at 806 Lincoln Ave. in Albert Lea.
Books are stocked into a Little Free Library at 806 Lincoln Ave. in Albert Lea.

The Little Free Library is at 806 Lincoln Ave., and Lang said Roy and Nancy Beighley built and decorated the little structure. Lang’s granddaughter, Carissa, 12, also helped. After they had found all the books, together they made a bookmark explaining what the Little Free Library is. Then Carissa decorated all the bookmarks according to the theme of the books.

“She helped pick out the books, too,” Lang said.

Both Lang and her granddaughter read frequently. Lang said she used to visit the library in Lake Mills, where she grew up, multiple times per day to get books to read.

“Reading transports you anywhere in the world,” Lang said. “There’s nothing greater than going to bed and tucking that book under your pillow.”

Lang said the caretaker for the Little Free Library is Serendipity Gardens, which is run by her and her husband. They found some examples of a Little Free Library in Northfield, and Lang said she just had to build one of her own.

Lang hopes that other individuals, or even a school or service club, will also want to make and care for a Little Free Library so that there can be more than one in Albert Lea. It does take work, but Lang said she thinks having these libraries would be valuable to the community.

More information on Little Free Libraries can be found at www.littlefreelibrary.org. There is also a map of where the libraries are located. Lang said she has her official number, but she’s still waiting to get the official plaque for the library. Then the library at 806 Lincoln Ave. will appear on the online world map of the libraries.

There have already been a few children to visit the library, and Lang hopes its popularity just keeps growing because reading is so important to her.

“Books always taught me I could be who I want to be,” Lang said.