For the past year and a half or so, I’ve been watching along the sidelines as Little Free Libraries began coming to south Lane County. I love to read and I love the feel of a real book in my hands (no e-reader here, yet). I also know the value of reading for all people, most especially children and teens, so this is obviously a project that would capture my attention.
Little Free Libraries are lending libraries which operate on the “take a book, leave a book” principle. It is an international movement with the goal of promoting literacy and the love of reading.
The movement began in 2009, when a man by the name of Todd Bol built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother. Todd’s mother was a former school teacher who loved to read so he filled the school house with books and put it on a post in his front yard in Hudson, Wisconsin.
His idea was obviously popular because, according to the Little Free Library website, as of January 2015 there were about 25,000 registered Little Free Libraries around the world (that’s 25,000 new Little Free Libraries in 6 years, or an average of 11.4 new libraries each day).
Although I have been keeping my eye on this project, I was surprised last week when I learned through an article in the Cottage Grove Sentinel (Oct. 28, pg. 3A) that 16 Little Free Libraries have been placed around the south Lane County area. A map shows libraries in Creswell, Dorena, and London, as well as eight in Cottage Grove (see below).
Our local Little Free Libraries are thanks to the efforts of about 40 people in a Ford Family Foundation leadership program.
As you can tell from the photos of our local libraries, they don’t all look alike. I think one of the fun aspects of the libraries is that they can look like virtually anything, the key is that they are water-tight and have a glass front door so people can see the books inside. The Little Free Library organization created a great Pinterest board showing how creative Little Free Libraries can be. It is fun to look around.
Last week, I had my first real-life experience with a Little Free Library. I stopped by the newest one in Cottage Grove at the All America City Square to take photographs. When I opened up the door I found a book I had been wanting to read. What a treat! I have since taken books back to the library to replace the one I borrowed.
Although these Little Free Libraries are located in city parks and on school grounds, in many communities the libraries are located in private yards in front of people’s homes.
What has been your experience with Little Free Libraries?