New Lending Library feeds bodies and minds
JANESVILLE, Wis. — There’s something new hanging on the wall of the Subway on Milton Avenue in Janesville.
It’s called a lending library.
College sophomore Shad Hanson built it after his grandmother found the idea on Pinterest. Much like the Little Free Libraries that can often be found outside of homes and businesses, it’s designed for people to take a book or leave a book. The goal is to get people reading.
“I really stand for children and reading and helping them learn how to read,” Hanson said.
He built the library as a project for the Next Generation 4-H Club based out of Juda. The library was originally meant to go in his aunt’s front yard, but she had a different idea.
“When I saw how beautiful the library was, I was like, ‘This has got to go somewhere besides my front yard. People need to see it,'” said Lisa Bloomquist, Hanson’s aunt.
Bloomquist is the director of operations for Subway. As her nephew was building the library, she was building a new Subway in Windsor.
“In my front yard, maybe a person or two would have accessed it. At the store, thousands of people get to access it,” Bloomquist said.
The lending library was such a success at the Windsor Subway that Bloomquist asked Hanson to make a second one for the restaurant in Janesville. She picked those two stores because they both have foyers, which give people a nice spot to look through the books.
“It feels good to see it where everyone else can,” Hanson said. “Most of my stuff is just at my house, but these Lending Libraries are in two different cities.”
Besides being on display, the libraries are extra special because the materials came from Hanson’s family farm in Juda.
“I picked out the wood from a tree that actually fell on the farm,” Hanson said.
The door of the library is made out of windows from an old barn.
“I milked cows when I was a kid, and walking in, I can see that nostalgia,” Bloomquist said. “I know that when I open this up, it’s one of the windows right out of the milk house.”
The books inside the Janesville library are special, as well, because they came from the high school both Hanson and Bloomquist attended.
Hanson said it took him months to design and work on each library.
“This was one of my toughest projects in my 13 years in 4-H,” he said.
Hanson has now graduated out of the 4-H club but has come back as an adult leader, hoping to help kids make projects like he did.
Bloomquist said they always appreciate donations for the libraries. Anyone who has extra books can drop them off at the Subway at 2034 Milton Avenue in Janesville or 6321 Rostad Circle in Windsor.
“A lot of times we’ll get cookbooks donated. The cookbooks go super fast,” Bloomquist said with a laugh. “People absolutely love that. So it’s just nice to see people grabbing them and enjoying them as much as I do.”
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