De Smet has a brand new Little Free Library, a free-standing structure with the concept of taking a book and leaving a book. The non-profit organization that promotes neighborhood book exchanges was founded in 2009. There are more than 90,000 public book exchanges registered worldwide.
I was first introduced a Free Little Library concept on a sister trip a few years ago,” stated Mary Lee, the steward of the De Smet chapter. “It was in a little town, Delmont, S.D., and I thought the idea was great. Since that trip, my sisters and I always seek out little libraries on every trip.”
Not all libraries are registered, but they are still fun to find.
Lee thought it was a great idea for the town of De Smet as well. Being the home town for the world-famous Laura Ingalls Wilder, why not introduce the concept for the benefit of the readers and fans of Laura.
“I went to the city council; offered the idea in the city park across the street from the LIW Headquarters,” said Lee.
After the city’s approval, COVID delayed the project for a year.
“I renewed the building permit and got going this spring.”
Lee’s husband, Roger, and neighbor, Allen Larson, contributed time to the project.
“I couldn’t have done it without Roger. Carpentry is not his forte. I think he would have much rather torn apart a tractor,” Lee said.
Going forward, the hope is that the De Smet Little Free Library stays busy. It is always open to take donations of books that are good reads, either adult or children's books. New coloring books, crossword books, South Dakota Magazines, Laura Ingalls Wilder books, as well as more typical used books, have been in and out of the library already.
“I have been monitoring it; the books are always changing. Use your imagination, contribute if you want and make it fun,” said Lee.