October 19, 2017

Minneapolis police are giving new meaning to the words “Book ’em”


Fact: Minneapolis is an amazing town for books. As we wrote earlier this month, a group of sixty volunteers helped hand-shuttle endless pounds of stock when Moon Palace Books changed locations within the city last year. In May, we checked out the amazing Instagram feed of Graywolf Press. In May, we highlighted the many services the Minneapolis Central Library provides beyond book-lending.

So we know Minneapolis has incredible bookstores, libraries, and publishers. What more could a city need? How about a book-wielding police force?

As Libor Jany of the Star Tribune reports this week, the Minnesota Police Department is partnering with Little Free Library in an effort to prime kids for the city’s bustling literary scene.

“Community policing officers will carry books while they are making their rounds on the city’s North and South sides,” Jany writes. “They’ll still respond to certain emergencies, but won’t be dispatched to calls for help, freeing them up to visit neighborhoods without libraries and give away books to anyone who wants them.” Cops with books will have decals placed on their squad cars that read, “WE SHARE BOOKS!”

The department has also dedicated some squad cars to the effort, souping them up in biblioriffic style to act as mobile libraries. In a public event last Tuesday to promote the initiative, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said, “We encourage children out there, or parents, if they see the decals out there… to flag down one of our officers.”

Little Library locations in Minneapolis, MN — via Google Maps

Beyond the direct community outreach, the police department will also be putting up little free libraries—small, mailbox-like fixtures in which books can be exchanged or taken for free—around the city. (Minneapolis already boasts a great many of the boxes.)

According to Jany, local police also said, “Donations are always welcome.” So if you’re in the 6-1-2 with a few books to spare, there’s a precinct nearby that’ll take them off your hands.

Peter Clark is a former Melville House sales manager.