Nightly News | March 10, 2012
>>> finally tonight, one guy's bright idea to start thinking inside the box spreading his love of reading the old fashioned way. you know, holding an actual book in your hands. as some libraries begin to disappear across america, neighbors are using pop-up libraries to fill the gap. we get the story tonight from nbc's rehema ellis.
>> reporter: for the seventh grade masters of the internet age , a wooden box and what's inside can still excite.
>> i like the feel of actually reading a book.
>> the one i need.
>> reporter: that's exactly what todd bowl hoped for when he made this to honor his mother june. a teacher with a passion for reading, passed on to him.
>> i created this little library that was a one-room schoolhouse that sat on a post outside my house. and that was it. i didn't plan on making any more libraries.
>> reporter: but as is the case in many stories, that's a twist.
>> last week i made my 800th sign.
>> reporter: seeing the excitement around his library, he and his friend rick brooks started to offer support to people interested in having their own. the message -- take a book, return a book. what began in hudson, wisconsin, now spans at least 28 states and countries around the world. libraries have taken root at health clinic , stores, even bike paths. here in wisconsin, the dairy capital of america, this little free library was made using four milk crates and the hinges came from ice boxes. behives, old phone book , all transformed into little free libraries. more than 75% of people build their own, so each is unique. but whether it's a living legacy or theme, made using store bought or recycled material -- a couple of shelves inside, the reaction speaks volumes.
>> it's awesome.
>> reporter: it's no longer just about books.
>> the primary function is to bring people together. promote a sense of community and wow, does that work.
>> reporter: just seeing them sparks interest.
>> i peeked inside and thought, this is so cool. i love this. and so i brought it home to the family and said, i wonder if we could do this too. and we could and we did. it really is for anyone who walks by. it is not mine. it's all of ours.
>> reporter: so the story of the little free library continues. written by people sharing them and the books inside. rehema ellis, nbc news.