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MHS student builds Mitchell's first Little Free Library

Take a book, leave a book. That's the idea behind Mitchell's first Little Free Library that now sits at Hitchcock Park. The Little Free Library is a growing trend across the country in which community members build a box, meant to sit outside, to...

Kaitlin Haas, along with help from her grandmother and two other FCCLA members, she places books inside the Little Free Library located at Hitchcock Park. The library will be used by community members as a free exchange of books. (Photo courtesy of Suzanne Skinner)
Kaitlin Haas, along with help from her grandmother and two other FCCLA members, she places books inside the Little Free Library located at Hitchcock Park. The library will be used by community members as a free exchange of books. (Photo courtesy of Suzanne Skinner)

Take a book, leave a book.

That's the idea behind Mitchell's first Little Free Library that now sits at Hitchcock Park. The Little Free Library is a growing trend across the country in which community members build a box, meant to sit outside, to be used as a free exchange of books.

And Kaitlin Haas, a senior at Mitchell High School, decided it was time to bring one to Mitchell.

"It's something for everyone in the community," she said.

The library started out as a community service project through the school group Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), Haas said. But now she hopes it'll continue to grow.

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Haas said anybody who uses the library can simply take a book, read it while they are there or take it home to use. Once they are finished reading the book, it can be returned or the reader can leave a different book.

On Wednesday, Haas put the final touches on her library, which she built with her father and grandfather, and packed the box with as many books as she could. And the books are directed toward audiences of all ages , from early readers to adult, Haas said.

For the 17-year-old high school student, bringing the library to the community was a way to get more children away from cellphones, tablets and television and back into reading.

"I've always liked to read too when I can and I figured it'd be a good idea," Haas said. "And kind of help kids unplug, as they say, from video games."

Haas' grandfather has built several of these libraries for his community in Iowa, and after seeing a lot of success, Haas decided she could do it, too.

There will be two locations in Mitchell for the little free libraries, Haas said. In a few weeks, Haas hopes to get the second box up at Patten Young Park, but so far there's not specific date set.

Haas has not checked in on the box yet to see if anybody is utilizing the library, but she's not worried about it getting used.

With winter on its way, Haas doesn't expect a lot of traffic immediately, but that it will "take off" during the summer when more people are spending time outdoors..

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"I just hope they'll get out and basically get a lot of family time out of it and just enjoy reading," Haas said.

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