Bargain: Little Free Library
Overview: Little Free Library (LFL) is a book exchange – “take a book, leave a book”. They’re most commonly found as little wooden boxes on posts in peoples’ front yards. The goal is to make books accessible in every community.
History: Todd Bol of Hudson, WI, built the first Little Free Library (though it wasn’t called that at the time) as a tribute to his mother, a teacher and book-lover. It was a little replica of a one room school house that he put up in his front yard with a sign that said FREE BOOKS. Soon, others were requesting libraries to put in their own yards. With the help of some skilled craftsmen and effective marketing, Little Free Library became a full-fledged non-profit in 2012. Since then, over 36,000 Little Free Libraries have been registered worldwide.
- Books are free!
- You never know what you’ll find. It’s somewhere you want to stop every time you go by.
- It’s easy to find a Little Free Library near you.
- They promote literacy and a community of readers.
- Leaving a book really gives you the warm fuzzies.
- You never know what you’ll find. Sometimes you may not want to take anything.
- Books are in used condition.
- Possible damage due to weather if the Little Free Library is not structurally sound.
- Stock may be low.
- Some people take advantage, doing a lot of taking and not a lot of leaving.
My first experience with Little Free Libraries was years ago, probably in the early stages of Little Free Library becoming an organization (though I’m not sure it was an official LFL). My neighbors across the street put up a little house library with a “take a book, leave a book” sign. I live smack dab in between an elementary school and a middle school, so it made a lot of sense. I was excited about it – I went across the street and checked all the time, usually leaving more than I took.
Fast forward a good 5 years or so and transport across the country to present day. I moved not too long ago and saw a bright pink box while driving from my old apartment to my new apartment. I hadn’t seen any little libraries in my new state, so I was instantly interested and excited!
This is my local Little Free Library.
It’s separated into adult books up top, kids books on the bottom. There are even little bookmarks made by the kids of the house that it resides at.
This is me leaving my proof of Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork.
I leave things in this particular LFL often – books that I’ve tried to sell/trade with no luck. I’ve only actually taken one book from this one which was Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. I haven’t read it yet, but the book itself is in great condition.
I figured I should check out some more LFLs for this post, so I consulted their website to find more by me. You can go to their map, put in your location, and it will tell you all of the registered Little Free Libraries around you. Here’s the Denver metro area:
I visited a few near me. They were darling and it was apparent that their stewards (what LFL calls the owners) truly cared about having books in their communities.
This one had a bench next to it for reading or resting. There was an adorable note from a kiddo too:
Hello everyone. Thank you for your continues support of the little free library. <3, Gwen
This one also had a bench. I was impressed by the cool decor and the lights that outline the roof. So fancy!
I liked this one the best for many reasons. It’s super colorful, the shingle roof is so cute, and it was packed to the brim with books! Do you see that back layer?!
I highly recommend you check out a local Little Free Library. Bring some books that are collecting dust and share them with your community. Maybe you’ll find something you want to take! And if you have the means and desire, consider putting a Little Free Library in your yard to share some much needed book love in your community!
P.S. Check out their Twitter page for some of the most creative and unique little lending libraries I’ve ever seen!