Little Free Libraries!

Little Free Library example 2

You may have spotted something like this around town. Unless you were on foot, however, and had time to inspect it, you might’ve wondered what it was.

This is something called a “Little Free Library.” It’s one of thousands of mini-kiosk-like informal book exchanges that have been popping up since the first one was installed only four years ago in Wisconsin. There are now thousands of them all over the country, and in other countries as well.

LFLs are usually built by homeowners, community organizations, or small business owners and installed along public sidewalks so that passersby can conveniently help themselves to the LFLs’ contents. (LFLs designed exclusively for kids’ books are positioned on short posts rather than on tall ones so kids can more easily use them.)

These tiny literary outposts, built in a wide variety of styles and with a wide range of weather-proof materials, operate on an honor system – “bring a book, leave a book” – and are meant not only to encourage reading, but also to foster the idea of community.

An organization exists to help spread the idea of creating more LFLs. Its website provides suggestions for creating your own LFL, a photo gallery of examples (and a link to hundreds more at its Flikr page), and a Google map of all the registered LFLs in the U.S. that you can use to find the locations of the LFLS closest to you.

If you own a home or small business, perhaps you’d like to consider designing, building, and installing on your property one of these little gems – either as a neighborly-minded DIY project or a joint project with a neighbor or community group?

Found via Book Riot


Berlin’s “Book Forest”

Part of a growing movement to support people swapping books they’re finished reading for books they want to read.

We like the way this project was reported as a “public bookshelf” rather than a “free library” or a “little library.”

All public libraries are free to their users, and a library isn’t a randomly-selected collection of books depending totally on the kindness of strangers to function (or to be well-maintained).

“Public bookshelf” is a suitably accurate term for these outdoor mini-collections of used books that are sprouting up in lots of places. Otherwise, we think these mini-bookswap thingies are wonderful, and we hope to see more or them.

Found at Shelf Awareness via Bookshelf