Little Free Library

    c.283w walking with roly polyI 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.)

    c.282w Little Free LibraryWhile 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.)

    c.248bw share booksBack 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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    Dana Bailey - June 11, 2014 - 9:05 am

    I LOVE THIS!!!
    So happy you shared

    Tana Bevan - June 11, 2014 - 10:59 am

    Dana~Definitely a FUN. Little Free Libraries so warrant sharing. When you have a few minutes, check out its website for some really creative LFLs.

    kath unsworth - June 11, 2014 - 2:20 pm

    Dana I love these ideas we don’t have anything like this in rural Australia. Thanks for sharing it.

    Tammy - June 11, 2014 - 3:49 pm

    Anything ‘books’ has my vote! I read about this endeavor several years ago. Awesome then … awesome now. Something that each state/country can easily adopt. And the Book Crossing is a fab way to “travel”. A win win! Thoughtful and clever of you to share this with us. Particularly loved the doodle of you walking with your cart. Beautiful!

    Tana Bevan - June 11, 2014 - 8:54 pm

    Kath~I checked the LFL world listing and there are some in Australia, though I don’t think they’re in the rural part. (Doubt there’s much foot traffic, depending of course exactly how rural you are.) Still, I think the idea is a lot of fun. Maybe, the LFL can be combined with the bookmobile concept, a little free library box attached to an airplane, or a truck that makes deliveries? Not sure if it’s practicable/do-able. Still, it’s fun thinking about the possibilities. Thanks so much for checking in.

    Tana Bevan - June 11, 2014 - 8:59 pm

    Tammy~I know many claim the the written word in book format is dying. I just don’t see that happening. Vinyl hasn’t disappeared from the music scene, VW bugs are still rolling along. I find it interesting that as the season for brick and mortar bookstores wanes, the Little Free Libraries seem to be taking root and flourishing. Gives this book reader hope. Always love to hear from you my friend.

    Sheila Bergquist - June 11, 2014 - 11:09 pm

    This is so fabulous! I’ve never heard of it, but am going to check out their site. I love books…and I still want a real, hold in your hand, made of paper book!

    Tana Bevan - June 12, 2014 - 12:33 pm

    Sheila~Books are a wonderful thing. And, when the power grid goes klapooey (as it does every-so-often), isn’t it a comfort knowing that you can still find comfort, answers, solutions, entertainment, fun (and more) in the pages of your books, long after the juice has gone out of your techno-toys?

    Sheila Bergquist - June 12, 2014 - 10:56 pm

    Yes! So true!

    catherine gacad - June 13, 2014 - 10:21 am

    i want to building a LFL and also check out the ones in my area. this has been on my to-do list for a while.

    Tana Bevan - June 13, 2014 - 1:05 pm

    Catherine~Being able to have an LFL is a wonderful perk to homeownership. Alas I am not one of them. But if I were … oh yes, if I were, now that I know about these Little Free Libraries, I would definitely put one together. If the LFL makes it from your to-do list into reality, I hope you’ll share pics. I just LOVE the concept. Great to hear from you. Hope motherhood is treating you well.