I am not sure if this has happened in your neighborhood or not, but in the early days of Covid 19, when the gyms were closed I did a lot of walking the streets of my St. Petersburg neighborhood. As I walked different routes, I began to notice little houses popping up within a few miles radius. Inside their doors were books and I said to myself, “How nice of someone to put books out since the libraries were also closed at the time.”
I never took a book, but just looked and noticed that book positions changed.
This fact led me to believe that they were being used by some people for sure. This brought a smile to my masked face and my librarian heart.
Now we fast forward to a time when the gyms and libraries are open again…these little houses are still up and running, but one in particular has blossomed into this.
I decided it was time to investigate and do some research about LittleFreeLibrary.org
and some of the information I found was so amazing I decided I needed to share it, just like good media specialists do everyday.The first one popped up only 11 years ago in Wisconsin, a tribute by Todd Bol to honor his late mother. Mr. Bol’s little unlocked box where neightbors could take and leave books was so popular, he teamed up with a local professor to establish the non-prodit Little Free Library.
Besides providing 24/7 access to books and encouraging a love of reading, did you know…
*There are Little Free Libraries on all seven continents…they just established the first one in Antarctica at the South Pole
The South Pole Little Free Library was Russell Schnell’s 37th installation. His first one was built for his daughter’s home in 2013 in St. Louis. He has also created libraries for locations like Mount Fuji, Japan; an Aboriginal area in Warrnambool, Australia; and a First Peoples Cree reserve in Maskwacis, Alberta, Canada. His use of recycled materials whenever he can needs to be commended. His passion for these libraries was inspired by not having books of his own growing up.
*They can also be found in all 50 United States and 108 countries
*They just launched the world’s 100,000th Little Free Library book-sharing box?
*They work with authors, publishers, and distributors that share their vision of inspiring readers and building community
*Their library models are weather-resistant, low maintenance, and are all built by Amish craftsmen in America
*Millions of books are exchanged annually
*3 out of 4 people report they’ve read a book they normally would not have read because of a Little Free Library
*73% of people say they’ve met more neighbors because of a Little Free Library
*92% of people say their neighborhood feels like a friendlier place because of a Little Free Library
*They are announcing a new initiative entitled Read in Color to distribute diverse books that provide perspectives on racism and celebrate BIPOC and LGBTQ voices
*They granted more than 1,000 little libraries through their impact Library Program, including 100 speciality libraries since many school and public libraries closed
*Little Free Library was honored to receive the 2020 World Literacy Award from the World Literacy Foundation
*They are a top-rated nonprofit by the Great Nonprofits organization and received Guidestar’s Platinum Seal of Transparency
* They offer deeply discounted books and giveaways for stewards and fans
*They have a shop with a variety of handcrafted library models and accessories
*They are a recipient of the Library of Congress Literacy Award, the National Book Foundation’s innovations in Reading Prize, Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers Award, the Women’s National Book Association’s Second Century Prize, and the Force for Positive Change Award
*Their blog is for Little Free Library Stewards and fans… You can visit it to share ideas, get advice and be inspired by Little Free Library experts posting on a broad range of literary topics.
In closing, I like to share this quote I found on their site. “There’s a growing body of research that shows when you focus on being kind to others, rather than doing things for yourself, you feel happier and more positive. Its’s like the kindness you put out into the world comes back to you!”
You can get involved by starting a Little Free Library of your own or support little libraries full of books to underserved communities.
I wish all of you a very happy, positive, and healthy new year ahead and may your kindness to others make this year the best one of your lives!
How lovely, Dottie! Thank you for sharing so many interesting LFL tidbits. I too have been discovering new little libraries in my community and aim to replace what I take 🙂
Dottie, this did put a smile on my face and my heart! Thank you.
Thank you, Dottie. Little Free Libraries make a difference! Great article!
Thanks for sharing! So many of these keep popping up in my neighborhood and it fills my librarian-book-lovin’-spread-the-gospel heart. I enjoyed your article.
Our neighborhood also filled with neighborly walks this spring, but only one little free library. The creativity in their design in St. Pete definitely makes me smile!
What creativity! Thank you, Dottie for all your research and great photos!
Dottie, what a heart warming and smiling post. Love seeing these Little Free Libraries when we (used to) travel. Thank you for your research!