Friday, March 19, 2021

The Story Behind Those New Little Free Libraries in Clearing and Garfield Ridge

By Joan Hadac
Editor & Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

In recent weeks, you may have seen what are called Little Free
Libraries popping up like daffodils on the front lawns of several homes in Clearing and Garfield Ridge.

These cute little book cabinets were built, installed and donated as a community service by Geno Randazzo of All Exterior Contractors, in partnership with the Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce and others.

Geno and crew have been busy beavers on this project. In fact, Geno has built, installed and donated a total of eight Little Free Libraries in Clearing and Garfield Ridge.

Each has been painted and decorated with a unique flair (by the
homeowner) and is stocked with books (often children’s books) that may be borrowed at no charge. Just show up, browse and take what you want.

You can find these fun Little Free Libraries at 5644 S. Narragansett, 6128 S. Massasoit, 6141 S. Nagle, 5736 S. Neva, 5312 S. Newland, 5157 S. Sayre, 5152 S. Menard and 5660 W. 55th Street (in front of Midway Storage).

Credit also must go to Garfield Ridge resident Vanessa Sepcot, who approached Geno Randazzo and Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce President Mary Ellen Brown about launching the project. Vanessa says she wanted to "give the kids something to look forward to and make sure they had easy/free access to reading even if they were not participating in in-person school."

Each unit has its own Little Free Library serial number, so visitors to will be able to locate it.

Little Free Library is a non-profit corporation designed to build
community, inspire readers and expand book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led libraries. To date, there are more than 90,000 Little Free Libraries in 91 countries, distributing literally millions of books every year.

It all started with a son’s love for his mother.

In 2009, Todd Bol mounted a wooden container, designed to look like a one-room schoolhouse, on a post on his lawn in Hudson, Wisc. and filled it with books as a tribute to his mother, June, a book lover and school teacher who had recently died.

As a mom—and a grandma—I like that story.

Here’s something else I like: a local business owner, Geno Randazzo, donating his time, experience, expertise and money to make these eight new Little Free Libraries a reality. Thanks, Geno. Once again, you and your company, All Exterior Contractors, are setting an outstanding example for all other businesses to follow.

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