Minnesota Little Free Library Delivered to Historic Alexandria Library in Egypt
A piece of Midwestern literary culture now resides in one of the world's oldest libraries in Alexandria, Egypt, thanks to a joint effort by nonprofits Books For Africa, Little Free Library, Minnesota Friends of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the Minnesota Book Awards program.
On October 15, 2017, Patrick Plonski, Executive Director of Books For Africa, presented Bibliotheca Alexandrina officials with a Little Free Library filled with award-winning books by Minnesota authors who had been recognized in the recent Minnesota Book Awards ceremony.
The presentation was made in recognition of the 20th Annual Meeting of International Friends of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The Library originally opened in the 3rd Century and became the world's foremost center for scholarship. It has been recreated in recent years to honor that tradition of learning and scholarship.
"We are honored to bring a bit of Minnesota to this great and historic library and to demonstrate that books and learning know no geographic boundaries," said Plonski. "This is a coming together of three great Minnesota/Wisconsin organizations and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina."
The inscription on the Little Free Library reads in part: "This donation is made in recognition of international friendship, fellowship, peace and education." A number of mobile Little Free Libraries, used to transport books to schools and libraries, were also presented.
"We are humbled to have a Little Free Library book exchange in the world's most famous library," said Todd H. Bol, co-founder and Executive Director of Little Free Library. "The library in Alexandria is a testament to the power of books throughout generations. We're grateful to our friends at Books For Africa for helping bring our Little Library to this truly significant space."
The Little Free Library that was presented to the Alexandria library was handcrafted in the U.S. and painted with a birch tree motif that evokes the region's woodlands.
Books For Africa, based in St. Paul, is a key partner of Little Free Library and a proud member of the Minnesota Friends of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. It is the world's largest shipper of donated books to the African continent. Books For Africa has distributed over 40 million books and large numbers of computers and e-readers to almost every African country over the past 30 years. It seeks to end the book famine in Africa by providing large quantities of books in English and local languages to schools and libraries.
Little Free Library, based in Hudson, Wisconsin, inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. Since the first Little Free Library was built in 2009, the number of registered book exchanges has grown to more than 60,000, in all 50 states and 80 countries. Little Free Library has received recognition from the National Book Foundation, the Library of Congress, and others.
Minnesota Friends of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina work to promote an awareness of the Alexandria library as an international center of cultural exchange and meetings and to gather intellectuals in science, arts and humanities as envisioned by the founders.