by Kassandra Lamb
Have you heard of the little free library movement? Here’s the one that sprang up in my neighborhood recently. The idea is that anyone can take a book or leave a book.
The first Little Free Library was built by Todd H. Bol in honor of his mother, a schoolteacher who loved books. Todd then went on to establish a not-for-profit organization to spread these little libraries everywhere.
So here are 6 reasons why having one in your neighborhood is a great idea.
1. Free Books: The most obvious reason is people get free books. This is particularly important for kids in poorer households. Two out of three of them have no books in their home, according to the little free library website.
But for all of us, what a treat! Take the family for an evening walk and get the kiddos each a new(ish) book (and one or two for yourself). You get to watch their little faces light up and you don’t have to spend a dime.
Then read those stories, take them back, and get some more.
2. Community: In addition to “inspiring reading,” one of the goals listed on the little free library website is to “build community.”
That has certainly worked with the one my neighbor set up. I’d never really paid much attention to who lived in that house, even though I’d often admired the house itself. It’s a beautiful example of a Florida “Cracker” house.
But now I wave every time I walk by. And they smile and wave back, especially if I stop and check out what new books have appeared in their library. Indeed, whenever you pass someone in that particular stretch of sidewalk, they’re likely to have a friendly smile on their face and give you an extra enthusiastic nod as you go by.
How could one look at that cute little library and NOT smile?
3. Creativity: Another goal listed on the site is “sparking creativity.” Some people stick to a rather plain library.
But others get quite creative, expressing their particular passions and/or decorating their library to express the place it is located.
There are even quite a few themed libraries such as those honoring Harry Potter.
4. A Place to Take Used Books: There was a time when you could put a box of books out at a yard sale, with a sign: “Paperbacks–25 cents; Hardcover–50 cents,” and the box would be mostly empty by the end of the day.
Now many avid readers prefer ebooks, and not even my church’s youth group will take “tree” books anymore for their annual fundraiser.
If you are a true book lover, this creates a very real dilemma. One simply cannot just throw out a book! I also read mostly ebooks, but now the occasional paperback that I buy or is given to me has a place to go once I’ve read it.
5. Exposure for Local Authors: Of course, I put a copy of my To Kill A Labrador in there, with the cute pic of the Black Lab star of the book showing. It was gone in a day. I’m thinking I’ll put the next book in the series in there soon. And maybe the first book in my other series…
6. LittleFreeLibrary.org makes it easy: They have detailed instructions on their user-friendly site that cover everything from choosing the right spot, building your little library, and installing it. They tell you exactly how to erect the pole and platform for it, but you can also put it on a table or a wall…
Or they even suggest “planting” it in big flower pot with stones or dirt and flowers around it. That way, it is “portable” (I put this in quotes because I think you’d need at least two burly neighbors to help you move it.)
And a bonus reason…have you noticed that these are all over the world? If you set up your own little free library (or even if you just have one nearby), you get to feel like you are part of a global community!
Have you spotted a Little Free Library near you? Have you ever considered setting one up?
Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kass is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington psychological mysteries, set in her native Maryland, and the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, set in Central Florida.
We blog here at misterio press about twice a month, usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.
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