I am centrally located, able to walk to work and for most of my shopping needs (as well as the beach). Agreed, walking isn’t the fastest way to get from point A to point B, still, it gives me the chance to see things I’d otherwise have missed. Such as the other day when I was on my way to the store and happened upon a marvelous Little Free Library.
Imagine a small, enclosed little structure with a glass window in front so you can see all the marvelous books inside, and you have a Little Free Library. (That and having a placard stating what it was also helped.)
In less than five years over 15,000 of these Little Free Libraries have been set up throughout the world. It all began in 2009 when Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one room schoolhouse in memory of his mother (a former school teacher who loved reading). He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard. It was an instant hit.
Rick Brooks (University of Wisconsin-Madison) was among those inspired. Together he and Bol wound up creating what is now known as the Little Free Library.
LFL’s Mission is
*To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.
*To build a sense of community by sharing skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.
LFL’s Goal is
*To build 2,510 Little Free Libraries—as many as Andrew Carnegie—and keep going.
(Obviously LFL’s in the “keep going” mode as it FAR surprised its goal.)
While checking out LFL’s website, I read about another neat book related project, Book Crossing. This online community of booklovers registers their books with an ID number, then passes them on. The ID unique to that particular copy of that particular book, allows you to follow it wherever it goes. Think of it as a passport enabling your book to travel the world without getting lost! The next person can then use that ID number to make a journal entry. Each book has an online journal page, which chronicles the hands it has passed through and each reader’s comment.
Some choose to pass on their books to friends and family. However others enjoy leaving the books in random places for strangers to find. Books have been left in cafes, on buses, on park benches, etc. Turns out Little Free Libraries are popular with Book Crossing devotees. (The books left there have a better chance of the book being picked by someone who’s interested in reading, rather than just getting tossed aside or thrown away.)
Back in late 1800s/early 1900s Andrew Carnegie supported/inspired creation of some 2500 public libraries and Ms. Lutie Steams, a librarian, brought books to nearly 1400 locations in Wisconsin through “traveling little libraries.” By the late 1900s there were lots of libraries and book stores throughout the world.
With the 21st century the internet began picking up steam. Now in the 21st Century’s second decade when it looks like the e-books, e-readers, i-pads, i-pods, are taking the lead as libraries and bookstores close, here come the “Take a book, leave a book” collections in coffee shops and public spaces throughout the world. Suddenly there are Little Free Libraries and Book Crossing devotees.
For book lovers everywhere it’s an exciting time. Imagine seeing other ways of sharing the tactile/paper/hold-in-your-hand-and-flip-the-pages books that are already out there waiting to be discovered. Or, those that will be in the future, perhaps even by a reader of this post.
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