tiny libraries

When I discovered the first Little Free Library in our area, with its invitation to “Take a book, return a book” I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. The handmade weatherproof book cabinet looked, at first glance, like an oversized birdhouse. Standing on Hanover Street at the edge of a lovely garden, the tiny library was stocked with a carefully curated collection of books.

I removed a few volumes, making a silent promise to return, with books of my own to share.

Since that first tiny library sighting, I’ve located at least six other Little Free Libraries in our area, and many others in nearby cities. Each one has its own unique, personal touch, and I’ve had the chance to meet a few of the owners to say thank-you. My husband and I enjoy stocking the Little Free Library near the playground in Kenmore Park. We fill the box and the next day, the books are all gone.

Coincidentally, I found a beautiful book that celebrates libraries at my local library.

Improbable Libraries: A Visual Journey to the World’s Most Unusual Libraries, by Alex Johnson

If you love books and libraries, this one is a worthwhile read.

From the chapter on tiny libraries, I learned about the Little Free Library Movement.

The first library box, built by Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, in 2009, was a model of a one-room schoolhouse designed as a tribute to his mother, a former schoolteacher who loved reading. He erected it on a post in his front yard and then teamed up with social enterprise expert Rick Brooks. The project has since seized the public imagination; it is now estimated that there are more than 12,000 Little Free Libraries around the world, most in the US and Canada, but also in countries including Ghana, Pakistan, India, and the Netherlands.
The goals of the Little Free Library enterprise, now a nonprofit organization, are not only to promote literacy and a love of reading among both children and adults, but also to build a sense of community by encouraging neighbors to meet up and chat while browsing new arrivals.