You may have seen the wood-framed Little Free Library boxes popping up in your neighborhood, but have you stopped to check them out? Here’s why should you care.
A Little Free Library is a free book exchange. Since 2009, more than 32,000 Little Free Library book exchanges have been registered in the U.S. and 70 other countries around the world. They are organized under the Little Free Library nonprofit organization. According to the Little Free Library FAQ, “In its most basic form, it’s a wooden box of books where anyone may pick up a book or two, or bring a book to share.” They are truly public libraries–libraries run for and by the public. Little Free Libraries have also been called “mini-town squares” because they provide a place where neighbors can meet and get to know each other.
But why should you care about, or start your own Little Free Library?
- Printed books are still relevant, even in this day of e-readers. Let’s help folks remember just how easy it is to pick up a printed book and read it–no battery life needed.
- Little Free Libraries can help broaden horizons. Instead of sticking with mystery novels, you just might pick up a book on gardening, “The Three Musketeers,” or a book on French cuisine!
- There’s no pressure. When buying books (digital or not), or even checking out books at the library, there’s so much pressure to choose the right books. Money is involved, after all. With Little Free Libraries, if you don’t like it, return it the next time you are in the neighborhood and try something else.
- Little Free Libraries have the potential to create and strengthen community connections. Getting to know your neighbors is a good thing– not only, so you can borrow their hedge trimmers, but knowing your neighbors is key to building a stronger and more vibrant community. It’s a revolutionary idea in the digital age when we are more likely to talk to someone halfway around the world than to our next door neighbor.
- Little Free Libraries promote sharing, repurposing, and neighborliness–all of which are positive qualities for kids to see and action and adopt.
- The joy of coming across a Little Free Library in your neck of the woods is priceless. It just might bring a smile to your face, brighten your day, and make the world seem like less of a scary place.
- Running a Little Free Library is the ultimate in doing-it-yourself!
If you are interested in starting your own Little Free Library, you can find out more details about how to purchase plans for the wooden enclosures, find local stewards who can help, and other details at littlefreelibrary.org.
And to see if there’s already a Little Free Library near you, check out the worldwide map.
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