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Little Free Libraries

Photo by kwhitt / Pixabay

Recognize this, or something similar? I hope so. The popularity of these adorable neighborhood book-sharing boxes has increased dramatically in recent years. During times of public library closures due to power outages or pandemic shutdowns, these Little Free Libraries have provided a way for books to continue to circulate within the community. And they’re always open!

You might be surprised to know that in some areas, LFLs are provided and supported by public library systems as an outreach effort to engage readers and foster a sense of community. Some of these are placed in parks where local volunteers maintain the boxes and keep them stocked with books that appeal to all ages.

Last week, while visiting in Alameda, I thought I’d leave a copy of Taking Root in a Little Free Library. There were so many boxes to choose from! One near the edge of the bay held a few contemporary murder mysteries, a copy of the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, a travel guide to Thailand, several other novels and non-fiction books and a couple of kids’ books about monster trucks and Paw Patrol characters. An LFL in another location was made from an upcycled former newspaper stand. Each one is incredibly unique! I found a box a couple of blocks away from a high school campus where I hoped my book might catch the eye of a teen reader. In exchange, I picked up a copy of Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan, that I’m looking forward to reading.

There are over 100,000 Little Free Libraries worldwide. Curious to know if one is available in your neck of the woods? Go to https://littlefreelibrary.org/ and click on the map function. If you find yourself inspired to install a box in your own neighborhood, plans, blueprints and instructions are provided on this site to get you started. You can also order a ready-to-assemble kit or pre-built library box handcrafted in America and add your own creative touches. Be sure to check local ordinances for any permitting or setback requirements.

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