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Coloradan introduces the first Little Free Library to Antarctica

This means there are Little Free Libraries on every continent.

COLORADO, USA — The South Pole received a gift of knowledge from Coloradan Dr. Russell Schnell in the form of a Little Free Library to hold novels, science fiction books, equipment manuals and more for Antarctica staff members.

That's according to a news release from the Little Free Library, a nonprofit that registers and promotes book-sharing boxes. 

This installation means there are now Little Free Libraries on all seven continents.

For Schnell, an atmospheric scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and woodworker by hobby, this was his 37th installation on the fifth continent. 

He said there he has 11 more free little libraries ready for him to place around the world, once the COVID-19 pandemic lets up.  

"I think that the Little Free Library is such a universally great and easy-to-understand concept that there should be such libraries every few square miles in inhabited areas," Schnell said. 

Located inside the NOAA's Atmospheric Research Observatory, those seeking reading material can now find Schell's Little Free Library. 

"Books with photos of colorful trees, warm deserts, water, beaches, wheat fields, and animals and birds are popular at the South Pole," Schnell said. "Everything else is white for hundreds of miles in all directions."

Having access to books is an essential mission to Schell, he said, due to his upbringing.  

"I never had access to books as a child," he said. "Whenever possible later in life, I acquired books. Our daughter was once asked on a school questionnaire at age eight how many books were in her home?  She said about 1,000. The teacher thought that answer must have been fantastical. Our daughter was not far off."

Schnell added to more than 100,000 Little Free Libraries worldwide, in all 50 states and now all seven continents. 

"We are thrilled to have such an enthusiastic advocate like Dr. Schnell," said Little Free Library Executive Director Greig Metzger. "It is an honor to be part of his travels, and now, through his effort, have a Little Free Library at the South Pole. 

Those who wish to get involved with starting their own Little Free Library to bring books to underserved communities can visit their website to get more information.

When building the little libraries, Schells said he prides himself on using recycled materials, besides the screws and bolts he said.

"It takes me a few weeks or more to build them," Schells said. "But then I give them away free, and I even install them for free."

The 40-60 pound structure should last for many years he said. 

Schell said he wants to continue to build Free Little Libraries to broaden the access people have to books worldwide, hoping to place them on seven continents himself one day too. 

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