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Volunteers place Little Free Library in Thompson Falls


Miriah Kardelis

BOOK EXCHANGE - Thompson Falls Public Library is closed, but volunteers have placed the Little Free Library on Main Street outside the library to offer a place for readers to leave and take materials.

by Miriah Kardelis

It's a simple but brilliant idea: a shelter that is built to house books, reading material and other sources of media to be exchanged freely among community members. Little Free Libraries, a movement that has swept across the country since 2009, now has a more prominent spot locally due to the rampage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As social distancing has stopped many from enjoying their favorite activities, and a shelter-at-home order has been given for Montana, many are at a loss for the sense of community that comes from visiting the local library or gathering at a weekly book club. Little Free Libraries are built with the goal of creating a sense of connectedness within the community, and to help preserve the love of reading.

Thanks to the Serendipity Book Club of Thompson Falls, locals will now be able to enjoy and take part in the free exchange.

According the Lynne Kersten, director of the Thompson Falls Library, the Serendipity Book Club has built and donated the Little Free Library that is now set up and ready to be used. Located in front of the Thompson Falls Library on Main Street, members of the book club have donated both books and DVDs. Coloring pages and crayons have also been donated by the Clark Fork Valley Elks.

"It's beautiful and amazing," Kersten exclaimed. "You can take and bring back or bring home and exchange."

With its shingled roof and plexiglass doors to shield materials from the weather, "it's there to help folks who are desperate for something to read or view," Kersten said.

With the spread of COVID-19, to help flatten the curve, the Thompson Falls Public Library closed their doors on March 16, with no opening date in sight. "It's hard because we have a lot of people who aren't being served," Kersten said of the struggles they have seen from closing.

The Little Free Library includes mostly adult books and DVDs, but there are a few kids' items as well. Kersten also mentioned the many free resources that can be access through the library's website without the need for a library card. Visit Montana Library2Go at to download eBooks and audiobooks.


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