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By Jana Peterson
Pine Knot News 

Sharing a love of reading leads to even more sharing


November 2, 2018

The Jadeke family of Cloquet started their Book Barn in July 2016, and filled it with books for all ages, free for the taking. This summer they added a Kitchen Cabinet, which holds free food items and even some homemade hats. Pictured, from left, are Shelby, Grant, Sarah and Gabe Jadeke. Dad Ryan Jadeke is not pictured.

First, there was a book barn.

Filled with all kinds of books for all ages, the small, red, barn-like structure on a post at the corner of Sixth Street and Selmser Avenue in Cloquet drew the attention of kids heading to and from school, people walking dogs and even grownups driving by.

The books were free for the taking. If a person wanted to, he or she could leave a book in return. Or not.

Sarah Jadeke, her husband Ryan, and their children - Grant, 12; Shelby, 10; and Gabe, age 8 - enjoy watching people visit their little "Book Barn." They also enjoy visiting similar places in Duluth, many of them official "Little Free

Libraries," part of a national book sharing movement. In Cloquet, there are similar structures at the police department and on Brevator Road near the Fond du Lac school. There are also "red bookshelves" in various businesses around town with free books.

The Jadeke Book Barn is not affiliated with any particular group, so people won't find it on a map of Little Free Libraries, but Sarah said a lot of people know about their free books and a few even call her the "book barn lady."

"I did it because my kids like to read," said Sarah, adding that she wasn't a big reader when she was younger. "And I wanted to share. And it was nice when all the middle school students would walk home from school. Now that the school moved, we don't get as much traffic."

For the kids, part of the thrill is racing out to the book barn to see what new books are there.

Grant said he is partial to science books, while Shelby likes a certain author who writes "warrior seeker and survivor" books featuring cats and dogs as protagonists.

"Gabe will read anything," said Grant.

Eight-year-old Gabe Jadeke checks out one of the books in the free Book Barn in front of their home at the corner of Sixth Street and Selmser Avenue in Cloquet.

This summer, the 2-year-old Book Barn underwent a transformation and a "kitchen cabinet" was added to the collection. During the growing season, the Kitchen Cabinet often featured extra vegetables from the Jadekes' prolific garden. Currently it contains canned and dry grocery items such as beans and rice, plus a small pile of handmade crocheted winter hats - again, free for the taking.

"A lot of people come to the Kitchen Cabinet," said Shelby.

Sarah said she gets a lot of ideas from the internet, Pinterest in particular. Just check out the garbage bag witches in the garden for evidence of that.

As with the book barn, people also drop off goods for the Kitchen Cabinet sometimes, or swap items.

It's all good, said Sarah. She just wants to share with people who will appreciate it and who might need it.

"When the first kids started stopping, it really did feel good," she admitted. "I thought, 'Oh, cute - they like it.'"


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