Minneapolis police officers spent part of Tuesday building a dozen Little Free Libraries – with some helpers.
The building project at the fourth precinct police station was one of the growing number of ways cops and kids are bonding over books lately.
Little Free Library announced it's giving away 100 of its book exchanges to police departments around the country.
Plus, Minneapolis will be the first to try out a new twist on the libraries by making a couple of them mobile.
Two police squad cars – one on the north side, one on the south side – will deliver free books to kids. It's part of the Kids, Community, and Cops program.
Why do this?
Organizers of the program see at least two benefits.
Little Free Library (a national non-profit based in Hudson, Wisconsin) says research shows that as kids read more, they get in trouble less. Easy access to books is a way to promote reading.
Also, having police officers provide the books gets kids and cops interacting in a friendly way.
"As we aim to connect with our community members outside of crisis calls, I believe these mobile Libraries will give the MPD another great bridge to help us connect," Minneapolis Police Chief Madaria Arradondo said in a statement.
Todd Bol, the executive director of Little Free Library, told KSTP: "What I really hope 20 years from now, is that when most of the kids of Minneapolis look back at police they remember them as nice people who brought them books."
In Minneapolis cops on bikes already help resupply the libraries.
And the Kids, Communities, and Cops Program is spreading, having reached departments in Detroit, Cleveland, and Los Angeles, where officers lead story time for kids.