I have been so taken with the idea for Little Free Libraries ever since I saw one put up by a Springfield man for his writer/teacher wife. If you haven’t heard of this amazing – but remarkably easy idea – for promoting literacy in your community, you should definitely check it out.
Let’s face it. If you love to read, you’ve always dreamed of owning your own bookstore or running a library. Well, people are doing just that all across the U.S., Africa, India, Europe, and even in Afghanistan! It all started with Wisconsin resident Todd Bol, who made a miniature replica of a one-room schoolhouse, set it on a post in his front yard, and filled it with books. Intended as a tribute to his mother – a teacher and bibliophile – it quickly became a gathering place for the neighborhood. A friend in Madison had the same reaction when he placed one in his community. And from there, the phenomenon has spread.
Little Free Libraries come in all shapes and sizes… re-purposed phone booths, glorified birdhouses, and street corner wagons!
Three years, 36 countries, and thousands of Little Free Libraries later, a non-profit organization is in place to help anyone who wants to be a part of helping readers old and young. Whether they are your neighbors, passersby, or tourists, Little Free Libraries are a tiny oasis of literary joy in our hectic, technology-filled lives. Many work in partnership with area businesses, universities, and funded libraries, while others operate outside of ordinary businesses and homes.
Anyone can become a “steward” – just setting up a weather-proof box and a small selection of books is all it takes! For a small registration fee, you can be added to the official Little Free Libraries database and world map (a resource for geocachers who love to spook out new “treasure” spots!) and get a numbered title plaque for their book box.
I am so excited about this concept, and plan to put up a Little Free Library at my road, as well as at a rental property in another neighborhood. And if you know me well and are reading this, expect me to be pestering you to put one up in your front yard too!
I’ll keep you posted on our progress, and hope to see signs from all of you that you are getting started on your own Little Free Library!