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Give one, borrow one, little free libraries popping up around metro

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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS (KCTV) -

A new type of library is popping up all around the Kansas City metro on both sides of the state line.

The concept is called "little free libraries" because it doesn't cost a penny to borrow a book. When someone spots one, they are encouraged to open up the cute little box, grab a book and start reading.

People are encouraged to put a book in place of the one they borrowed or return the original and there are no fines or return deadlines. The new concept is quickly catching on because it's free, no library card is needed and the little free libraries are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

One location in the Brookside neighborhood is manned by Erin Schmidt.

"They love it as well. Whenever they read a book they say, 'mom this is a good one for the library.' ‘Mom this isn't a good one for the library.' They like to stock it," she said.

The family's free library started out as a gift for Schmidt.

"I knew something was brewing in the basement, but I was not allowed down there. They were busy making the box as a Christmas gift," she said.

The Christmas gift keeps on giving. Strangers are borrowing books and leaving their own for the neighborhood to share.

"Adults kind of look at it and are taken aback by it or are a little puzzled by it. The kids go right up to it, especially when we added the stumps," Schmidt said, referring to the tree stumps that now sit around the library, acting as a place to sit and read.

In Prairie Village, KS, another little free library is attracting attention.

"We made up a little flyer and put it up and down the street so people would know what in the world this is all about. People love it," Karin McAdams said.

McAdams' daughter made her little free library box for her birthday.

"I think people in our neighborhood are a little shy. I think there is something about walking up and taking something for nothing or borrowing it," she said.

Both women are passionate about the concept.

"It's a conversation starter. It's a community builder, but there is also that element of literacy and love of great literature there," Schmidt said.

They hope little free libraries continue to catch on.

"Sometimes I dash out later to see if I can tell what they took because I really love sharing these things," McAdams said.

If you want to start a little free library, there is a website with step-by-step directions. Many little free library stewards are registered on the organization's website.

Click here for more information.

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