A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered to help police throw the book at whoever torched a "Little Free Library" — a wooden house-shaped box atop a post — along a residential street in south Minneapolis.

The fire was set Sunday, according to police, and several books inside the box were left charred in the 4300 block of Minnehaha Avenue. S.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Minnesota Arson Reward Project at 1-800-723-2020.

There are more than 12,000 Little Free Libraries around the world, a movement started in 2009 by Todd Bol and Rick Brooks of Wisconsin when Bol built a model of a one-room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former teacher who loved reading. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard.

The fast-growing nonprofit's premise is "take a book, return a book."

At least 1,000 Little Free Libraries are in Minnesota, from Chanhassen to Hackensack. They've spread as far as Ukraine, Italy, Japan, Pakistan and Brazil.

Paul Walsh