Here’s an idea I heard about for the first time this week, and which is worth sharing: Little Free Libraries. I’ve come across free book shelves in pubs and cafes, B&Bs, or Bookmooch and Bookcrossing website. Little free libraries are a little different, as people put them up in their own front gardens.
The first one was erected by a man named Todd Bol in Wisconsin, who made a box in the shape of a old schoolhouse, filled it with books and fixed it on a pole outside his home. He made similar boxes for friends, and the idea ran away. Since 2009, they have popped up all over the place and there are now some 26,000 Little Free Libraries around the world.
In poorer parts of town, the book boxes are a way of encouraging literacy. In richer places, they’re primarily a community building thing. Here in Luton, where library services have been cut recently, and a programme that sent free books to children has been shut down, they might be a good way of filling a gap. “Little Free Libraries are just putting books in your everyday path” as Margaret Aldrich comments in this article on Shareable.
In browsing the map of Little Free Libraries, it looks like there are about a dozen in Britain. Out of 26,000 worldwide, we can probably do better than that. Let’s do something about it.