Little Free Libraries are popping up around the state.

Kids from Cambridge Elementary School put one up at Barnes Camp, just before the entrance to Smugglers Notch on the Stowe side, and one has been installed in Hyde Park at the trailhead of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail.

Little Free Libraries are just what they sound like — small collections of books placed around communities that residents can take for free, as well as leave books of their own for the next person to take.

The Cambridge Elementary kids loved building and designing theirs.

“When I first heard of it, I didn’t understand what it was. I thought it was just for our school,” said Cambridge sixth-grader Brooke Nenard, but when she learned the whole community would be able to use it, she couldn’t wait to get started.

Students broke into three groups, said Morgan Baumann, a Cambridge Elementary teacher who assisted the students. One group built the case to hold the books, one painted it and another created flyers to tell people know about the little library.

“We wanted a Dr. Seuss theme,” said student Valentina Mazzarese, and soon, that theme spun off to include Jack and the Beanstalk, a worm busily reading and an astronaut orbiting the moon.

“We also came up with a motto — ‘One book, two book, CES book nook!’” said student Soma Hickman.

The Little Free Library will contain books from Cambridge Elementary School’s library that aren’t used anymore, and books from the community.

“I hope that a lot of people use it,” said Toni Howard.

“I really hope that people who go on the Long Trail will take a book with them and kind of read as they go,” said student Kyra Bechtoldt.

Student Thomas Bryce hopes people “come out more and have a nice day reading and sitting in the sun,” he said.

Baumann said the PTA sponsored the library kit, which costs about $280, according to the Little Free Library website, and the kids built and painted the whole thing.

A Little Free Library popped up recently in Hyde Park, too.

It was the first official Little Free Library in Lamoille County, though Margret Aldrich, who handles media and programming for Little Free Library, a nonprofit, says there are more than 90 in Vermont.

Hyde Park’s is at the Lamoille County Rail Trail trailhead. Bob Stein built it, and will steward it.

Right now, the Hyde Park Little Free Library has about 20 books, all donated, said Diane Szlachetka, a Hyde Park resident who’s a supporter of Little Free Libraries.

“Having Little Free Library book exchanges in your community helps foster a culture of reading, making books accessible to everyone,” Aldrich said. “Since the first Little Free Library was launched in 2009, more than 120 million books have been shared in Little Libraries. At the same time, these neighborhood book exchanges help bring people together and build community.”

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