Thursday, March 21, 2013

Posted by Laurel Garver on Thursday, March 21, 2013 18 comments
One of my neighbors is a wonderfully eccentric homeschooling mom who painted her Edwardian-era home purple, gold and teal and keeps chickens in her tiny yard, a block from the commuter rail station. She's often out in her garden with her rough-and-tumble girls, teaching them about plant life cycles or reading poetry.

So when an adorable miniature house full of books appeared at her front gate, painted to match the main house, I thought it was another one of Sue's cool new ideas. Share books! Meet neighbors! The "Little Free Library" sign, I believed, must be a riff on Philadelphia's public library system, called "The Free Library of Philadelphia."

While perusing this month's O, the Oprah Magazine, I came across a brief article on a very special organization behind Sue's box. Apparently there's an international movement of "take a book, leave a book," neighborhood by neighborhood.

The Little Free Library is a charity that helps individuals (folks like you and me) foster literacy and build community in their neighborhoods. You can order kits from their site and place a miniature lending library on your property. Register your library with LFL to receive extra support. The organization also is active in providing books to the third world to promote global literacy.

Here are a few more adorable libraries to inspire you:

Habitat for the Humanities (clever, right?)

A book barn!

A very classy library.
Go check it out, my book-loving friends! This might be just the thing your neighborhood needs.

If you could custom-design a box for your yard, what would it look like? What books might you share with your neighbors?

18 comments:

  1. Oh, loving this. So much. I didn't realize there was an actual organization that did this! What a wonderful way to spread the love of reading!

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. What would we do with out Oprah's team alerting us to cool things? :-D

      Since my neighborhood already has one, I thought the next best thing would be sharing it on my blog! It has been fun sharing books with neighbors.

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  2. I've seen this in the news too. It's an awesome idea. Since I give my books away on my blog, I probably wouldn't do one. But I love the idea of giving away books.

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    1. What's cool about the neighborhood box is how diverse the genres of sharing. It can be titles that appeal to young and old.

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  3. That's so awesome. I've seen similar ideas in laundry rooms and waiting rooms too.

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    1. I like the community-building aspect of it--that it helps neighbors strike up conversations and build relationships.

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  4. I haven't heard of this, but it's wonderful! Thanks for sharing. I'll be checking it out.

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    1. The kits are somewhat pricey, but they're very high quality materials, really solid construction to stand up to the weather. My neighbor's box is so cute, painted to match her eccentric house.

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  5. I've read about this before. I think it's a fabulous idea!

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    1. I thought it was my neighbor's idea alone and was pleasantly surprised to find out they're international!

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  6. I was talking to someone about this just last week. I haven't seen one in my neighborhood. Maybe I should start one!

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    1. I hope you do it, Tricia. It's a great way to give back to your community and also meet other book lovers.

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  7. I'm planning to put one of these up in front of my yard this summer. It's such an awesome idea!

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    1. Awesome! I can't wait to hear how it enriches your neighborhood.

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  8. This is really making my creative juices flow. If we could have an honor system, wouldn't that be so cool to do in our neighborhoods or our schools? Love it!

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    1. Check out the Little Free Library link for more details on how they suggest running a library. It is essentially an honor system, and can be especially good for passing along books your kids outgrow.

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  9. That is so sweet! If I had a house (instead of a triplex) I'd add: "build library box" to my to do list!

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    1. On the site, there are some urbanites who got permission to put up boxes at laundromats and other places where neighbors gather. Just takes a little extra creativity and cooperation.

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