Posted by Children’s Librarian, Nancy Novak:
DELIGHT, SURPRISE, AND WONDER IN SMALL OFFERINGS
I am used to working with all things small: small hands, small faces, skinny books, tiny little craft pieces and felt board images. It recently dawned on me that there is much to be said for experiencing small things in a way which leads to becoming something big in the end.
Have you ever seen a Little Free Library? Have you ever participated in the “take a book, leave a book” practice of these libraries? Neither have I, but it is now on my bucket list.
The history of Little Free Libraries, as chronicled on the Little Free Library website, begins in 2009,with love. Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin built a replica of a one room schoolhouse in honor of his mother, filled it with books, put it on a post, and attached a sign that said, FREE BOOKS. And thus, a true movement was born.
You can read all about it on the website. The goal of mirroring Andrew Carnegie’s grand 20th century gift of 2,509 public library buildings was reached in 2012, and the site estimates that there are now between 10,000 and 12,000 Little Free Libraries around the world in all kinds of places. Now a non-profit organization, Little Free Library’s goals are to “To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide,” and “To build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.” (http://littlefreelibrary.org/ourhistory/)
Photos of Little Free Libraries pop up regularly on Facebook and Flickr. Here’s a nice one in Fort Worth, courtesy of Sharron Schmidt, who saw it on one of her regular walks:
And here are two from Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/12357841@N02/9452179125/, Paul VanDerWerf
Little Free Libraries come in all colors and shapes. Many are repurposed from other items, such as the newspaper stand above, or even the iconic red phone booths in England. Design one yourself or buy a kit. Check out the Photo Gallery, and worldwide Map. If you make one, you can register yours through the site and get on the map!!
The University of Wisconsin’s Dr. Dipesh Navsaria explains how important it is to connect people to books and allow the process of learning to continue and expand in this video, Books Build Better Brains.
One day, I will have a Little Free Library in front of my home, and I hope a few of you will consider doing the same. Enjoy books and share the love!!