PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, WI (WXOW)—The Little Free Library is an idea that originated in Hudson four years ago.
People put up these little libraries outside their home, business or school; the community can borrow books from the library for free and donate their unwanted books.
You can make them however you want and any size you want as long as it's a safe home for books.
Andrew Doubek, 23, has always loved working with his hands.
"It helps me process things," Andrew said. "It's nice to be able to think about the logic of it all."
Andrew spends five hours a day in a wood shop turning a wooden pallet into a Little Free Library.
"He's done well," Chad Cline, Teacher, Vocational Building Maintenance and Construction said. "An excellent student. Does his work, minds his business, pleasure to have in class."
"It's nice to be able to get out and be able to work with your hands do something for a while. Lets you escape this kind of place for a while," Andrew said.
The kind of place people are sent after breaking the law, Prairie Du Chien Correctional Institute.
"We're pretty isolated in prison so it's kind of nice to be able to reach out and do something for other people," Andrew said.
"That's really part of the motivation for all of us," Rick Brooks, Co-Founder, Little Free Library said. "Each individual story has its value but we just have a week by week renewal in faith in humanity that comes from things like that."
A few years ago, the prison reached out to Little Free Library to see if construction students could help.
"It fit really well with the program and gave us projects we could get out the door rather than piling up here," Cline said.
Over the last year and a half, inmates have donated 80 libraries.
"We had a Brownie troop from Minneapolis that sent us a big poster of thank you," Cline said. "We've gotten them from Joplin, MO after the tornado."
Andrew has two years left in prison. He said it's a process, but he truly does want to change.
"I can see clearly now," he said. "I've made some mistakes but I'm going to try to bounce back and use the tools I can learn here in the shop and apply it to doing well on the outside."
The construction class is part program offered by Southwest Technical College in Fennimore. Inmates can earn a degree or certificate while serving their time.
Andrew said he already has an Associate's Degree in Computer Science and when he gets out he wants to finish up his Bachelor's Degree.
The Little Free Libraries inmates make are donated to communities with out a library.
Communities can apply for a Free Little Library online.
There are several in the Coulee Region, click here for an interactive map of the libraries.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2013 WorldNow and WXOW. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Theresa Wopat at 507-895-9969. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at email@example.com.