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Little Free Libraries now open at Minneapolis police precincts

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Kids in Minneapolis who are looking for a good book to read this summer need only stop by their local police precinct, as the department officially opened up four Little Free Libraries Monday.

The small libraries – essentially free book exchanges – are located outside the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th precincts, according to police department spokesman Scott Seroka.

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He said two more Little Free Libraries will be installed within the next couple of weeks – one at the Cedar Riverside Safety Center and the other in the Criminal Investigations office in City Hall.

The four Little Free Libraries are stocked with books primarily geared toward children and teenagers, Seroka said. Most of them were donated by Minneapolis Public Schools, but other community groups made donations as well.

The free library project is another in the Minneapolis Police Department's efforts to connect with community residents, especially children.

The Little Free Library book exchange movement began five years ago in Hudson, Wisconsin, and has become incredibly popular across the globe.

The concept is simple: Neighborhoods or individuals set up the little house-shaped boxes along their street and fill them with books. People can then take a book to read and perhaps leave a book of their own.

Now police departments around the country are building these small book houses, hoping it will give residents a reason to talk to police when they're not involved in an emergency situation.

Police Chief Janeé Harteau said kids often interact with police only when something sad or scary has happened, according to the Star Tribune.

But books are a good conversation starter, she said, adding she hopes the Little Free Libraries will help residents and police get to know each other a little better.

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