Little Free Libraries

Small glassed in box to hold reading material.
A Neighborhood box to share books.

Twice this year while travelling I have come across freestanding glassed-in boxes holding books. I had heard of such items but before my trip to Santa Fe had not seen one. There is an organization called Little Free Library behind this trend. Individuals can erect Little Free Libraries on their property. Books and other items are left in the boxes with a Take one-Leave one attitude.

Obstacles

I like the idea and would love to put one up. There can be obstacles. According to the Little Free Library organization’s website, some individuals have faced opposition from various entities. Homeowners Associations and some municipalities may require permission to set up Little Free Libraries. The site shares some creative ways to work around obstacles in establishing a library on your property.

Controversy

One of the most interesting thongs to me about Little Free Libraries is some of the controversy stimulated by this free book exchange. A couple of Canadian librarians spent two years researching and writing a journal article which was very critical of the Little Free Library non-profit. They posited the movement was a way for the wealthy to feel good about themselves. Furthermore, they believed there was no need for these neighborhood boxes when so many had access to public libraries. For more of their opinion, click here.

Sturdiness

I have not contacted my city officials to see if they are permissible. If I need to jump through hoops to place one in my yard, I will. Instead, my concern is more of how weather would affect the Little Free Libraries. The second location I spotted withstood hurricane strength winds last fall. However, I do not know if the box was in place at the time. We have very strong winds so I do worry about sturdiness. I do know the containers are rain proof. The night before I left my copy of Two Girls Down, a two inch rain occurred. As you can see from the picture the books inside were nice and dry.

Books on shelves
Leaving a book at a neighborhood Little Free Library.

The argument from the Canadian librarians does not concern me. Even if some experience self-gratification from placing the boxes, the Little Free Libraries serve a purpose. Neighbors sharing books is a positive activity. Too often individuals do not know people living just a block away. I especially liked the one shown in the photo below. The lower shelf is chock full of items for kids. While I can drive to the library anytime I wish, kids in my neighborhood do not necessarily have the same opportunity. What do you think of these book-sharing boxes? Do you use one? Please share below.

Children's reading material on low shelf
Kid Items on lowest shelf.

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