Have you heard about Little Free Libraries? What started as a memorial has grown to an international movement with over 5,000 free little libraries around the world.
One of the founders, Tod Bol, made his first little free library as a tribute to his late mother. It was designed like a schoolhouse, and he placed it in his front yard with a sign asking people to take a book or leave a book for others. Working together with Rick Brooks, the two founded Little Free Library as a nonprofit organization. On the LittleFreeLibrary.org website, individuals or groups can purchase the boxes and register their library so it appears on the map. Stewards of the boxes can paint or customize their little free library as suits their needs. Little Free Library’s mission is “to promote literacy and the love of reading” and “to build a sense of community” with an initial goal to build more libraries than Dale Carnegie. They have well surpassed that goal of 2,510.
This simple idea of installing a box, adding a few books, allowing anyone to pick up a book or leave a book for others is inspiring, and I am thinking about different ways a public library could partner with organizations to set up a Little Free Library for outreach to the community. Partnerships could be formed with local service organizations, scout troops, school associations, book clubs or Friends of the Library for example.
Little Free Libraries can be placed wherever there is need to connect with the community or simply to inspire the love of reading. A few ideas include:
- An assisted living facility or retirement community where residents may no longer be able to drive to visit the local library
- Any area that may not be served by a public library, perhaps along a school bus route
- A train or bus station that is busy with commuters
- Near a city park or community garden
- Along a bike trail or jogging path
- At the dog park
The possibilities are endless! For more ideas, visit the Little Free Library Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/LittleFreeLibrary) and watch an informational video here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6euOhkCX98).