Special Sights ~ Little Free Library

   I have run across photographs of these little libraries, designed to look like see-through mailboxes, many times before.  Only now have I taken the time to learn more and I am completely captivated! 








   The Little Free Library concept is best explained in six little words, "Take a book, leave a book." Imagined and initiated by Rick Brooks of Madison, and Todd Bol of Hudson, this Field of Dreams philosophy has spread like the ballpark "wave" from Wisconsin to five other continents!  Taken from an article by Gayle Worland of the Wisconsin State Journal, "When they first hatched the idea for the Little Library — along with the goal to create more of them around the world than Andrew Carnegie did public libraries — Brooks and Bol thought of giving the box a witty name like 'Habitat for the Humanities.' Or 'House of Stories.' But the name that stuck was Little Library.

'A lot of people are not readers. Or they read Facebook and not books. With the Little Library, what seems to catch them is that the box is — cute,' Brooks said. 'And the idea that you can have something free is nice. They get a warm, fuzzy feeling about it.'

   The project was inspired in part by tales of Lutie Stearns (1866-1943), who traveled the back roads of Wisconsin to lend books in the early 20th century. With Little Libraries, the goal is not only to boost literacy and reading, but to build community."

   As explained on their website, Little Free Library's mission is:

  • To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.
  • To build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.
  • To build 2,510 Libraries- as many as Andrew Carnegie- and keep going!

   I have big plans for this summer: to catch up on printing years of family photos, to continue my efforts of teaching Little Girl to read, to prepare Baby Girl for preschool, to have some major fun in the sun, and to possibly sneak in a staycation with my husband.  Now, I'm adding to my list.  People all over the world are making a big difference with a small, waterproof box.  I want to be next!  I don't know where I will stake my hypothetical Little Free Library because I only have a few neighbors and live well off the beaten path, but at least the wheels are turning.  I think along a bike trail or in a park would be perfect.  I wonder if the city agrees.

   Beyond a home project this summer, this may be a fantastic opportunity for a larger group to join together and make a difference!  It might be a great community-building and philanthropy idea for local businesses and organizations.  Or, if you focus on the green aspect (recycled materials for the construction of the library, reusing books instead of printing more, reducing our expenses by trading books) and encouraging literacy, it would make a fantastic project for a school or classroom!  Visit Little Free Library's site here to order your own handmade library or one ready for customization!    

   To find the Little Free Library nearest you, click here for an interactive map!  Thanks for stopping by!  Here are a few others elsewhere in the world with the same idea:

Syracuse University's prototype reuses old payphone booths!

Read more about Berlin's tree libraries here [photo source]

Book Booth in New York

Toronto's Bibliomat delivers random used books.

Dr. Who's Tardis Library in Minnesota [photo source]

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