You’re walking through your local park or maybe the arts district during the farmers market, and you see something that looks like an oversized birdhouse on a post. But there aren’t birds in there. It’s books!
You’ve just discovered your first Little Free Library!
Little Free Library is a non-profit organization that encourages local communities to share books.
Take a book. Share a book.
In 2009, the first Little Free Library was created as a way to spread books through 24/7 local access. Communities create and maintain their own Libraries. It fosters a sense of ownership and neighborly behavior.
Small library boxes are set up at convenient locations and maintained by a steward who pledges to upkeep the library and make any necessary repairs. Most also take responsibility to add new books or remove damaged ones.
Little Free Library sells pre-made libraries that only need installation. Or you can build your own and add signage once it’s registered as an official location.
Meet your neighbors. Share books. Read more. Spread education. Change lives.
Your local area may have one of the 100,000+ Little Free Libraries.
I’ve seen a few of these before, but they were never in a place that was close to my home or work. Until now.
I recently moved to a new area and discovered a new-to-me Little Free Library. It is perfectly situated along a nature trail that runs through and behind several neighborhoods. For me, it’s an easy 1-mile walk to choose my next great read.
My husband and I discovered the Little Free Library by accident on our run. We ran by on the ‘out’ portion of our run and I was so excited! It was beautiful and well-maintained. I could see, even passing at running speed, that it was stuffed full of books.
It was positioned on a portion of the trail just behind a neighborhood. I believe it was installed and is maintained by the people living in the closest house as it was placed near their back fence along the trail.
Once we turned around at the halfway point of our run, we continued on the ‘back’ portion of our ‘out-and-back’ run. I knew it was coming up again and gave my husband puppy eyes while asking if we could pause our run so I could grab a book.
Of course, he obliged. We took turns sipping water and browsing the books. After a quick, gut-reaction choice, I had my book and we were on our way!
I’ve never run with a book in my hand, but it was only 1 mile from home and I tried to pretend it was simply a water bottle. It was threatening to rain, but we made it home in time to keep my new book nice and dry.
It is turning out to be an interesting read. The book itself is in great condition, too. I’m sure I’ll be back to the Free Little Library soon to drop this book back off for the next neighbor to read and to get another.
I’m very excited to donate some of my future books to this Little Free Library. Unfortunately, since we just moved, I had recently purged all of the books I was done with and no longer wanted to keep. So my old local donation centers and library got to keep those. But there will be plenty more to share in the future.
Sharing is caring.
One of the greatest things about Little Free Libraries is that you get to share your books with your neighbors. You probably don’t know them. You’ll probably never meet them. But you can share an experience with them through the same book.
I love the idea of reading the same book as someone close to me. I know, logically, that thousands of other people have already read most of the books that I am reading. And thousands more will read it after I’m done.
But they are all reading their own copies. In the case of Little Free Libraries, we are reading the exact same copy of the book. Maybe only days apart.
There is a real sense of camaraderie and connection.
Sharing is caring.
Be sure to return books you are done with and when possible, donate new ones.
Respect the books you borrow. Bring them back in good condition for the next reader to enjoy.
Visit the Little Free Library website here for more information!
Little Free Library’s website offers video tutorials on how to start your own Library in your area.
They also offer a free mobile app to find Little Free Libraries near you.
I was amazingly surprised at how many Little Free Libraries are around me. I opened the map on the website and so many markers came up. If I ever get tired of the selections at one Library, I can just go another mile down the road and try the next one.
It seems like my new city really loves to read and that makes me endlessly happy.
Join in on the experience and start reading today!