What would you include in your own “little library”? A Little Free Library in Sandy Springs, Georgia. (Little Free Libraries/Thinkstock)
What would you include in your own “little library”?
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In recent years, little libraries of all shapes and sizes have popped up. They might be found on street corners and sidewalks. Often built by community members hoping to share their book collection with their neighbors, these "Little Free Libraries" are like a modern-day iteration of the classic bookmobile. Minneapolis, Minnesota, held the first Little Free Library Festival. Book fans and people with a do-it-yourself streak came together. They promoted literacy in their communities.

For the most part, Little Free Libraries have more in common with book-sharing shelves in hostels, laundromats, coffee shops and other public spaces than the traditional public library. Based on a philosophy of "take a book, leave a book," these little libraries can take many forms. They include birdhouse-like wooden structures to repurposed newspaper vending machines. This is according to Robert Wirsing, who writes for the Bronx Times.
 
The Little Free Library organization began in 2009. A resident of Hudson, Wisconsin, named Todd Bol built a little model of a one-room schoolhouse. He filled it with books. Then he installed it in his front yard. It was a tribute to his late mother. Together with a local educator named Rick Brooks, the two began installing Little Free Libraries across Wisconsin. They shared the idea with people across the country. According to their website, by 2011 there were at least 400 free libraries. These were tucked into nooks and crannies of cities across the U.S.
 
"Something we long for in this digital age is that connection between people," Bol tells Margret Aldrich for Book Riot. "I want to show how Little Free Library is about readers inspiring readers inspiring readers. It goes on and on."
 
Little Free Libraries might seem like a harmless and innocent means to promote literacy and share books with neighbors. But at least a few of the roadside lending libraries have caused minor legal disputes. According to the Los Angeles Times' Michael Schaub, officials in Los Angeles and Shreveport, Louisiana, have told some residents that their homemade libraries violated city codes. They would have to remove them. In both cases, city officials told the little libraries' caretakers that they were obstructions. The operators could face fines if the lending libraries weren't removed.
 
Still, for the most part Little Free Libraries have been welcomed by their communities. For anyone interested in making their own at home, the organization has posted helpful tips and guides for building and installing the little book lending boxes.
 
Information can be found online. Go to littlefreelibrary.org.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
In which ways are a “little library” better than a conventional library?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (33)
  • nicolettem-2-bar
    6/10/2016 - 12:57 p.m.

    A "little library" is better than a conventional library because it creates a community of people that can share stories and books and can form great friendships. These little libraries are also almost always free!
    In this article I learned that Little Libraries first started in Minnesota, Minneappolis

  • bostonb-qui
    6/10/2016 - 01:28 p.m.

    The little library gives free books.

    • dom-rya
      6/20/2016 - 10:35 p.m.

      I think little libraries are more helpful because you can swap you unwanted books for some you may like and public libraries you have to pay so they are better

  • william1108-yyca
    6/13/2016 - 01:55 p.m.

    The little free library looks so small. I don't understand why they even made it in the first place. But I think that I have seen one before a long time ago. But the little free library is so small that it actually might be easier to find books than in a library. Maybe one day I might see a little free library.

  • ben0424-yyca-byo
    6/14/2016 - 02:44 p.m.

    The Little Free Library is a very good idea. People could add their own books which they think is good and others could add their own. I have seen some of these along the streets and I didn't know what these were for until I read this passage. Now that I know about these, I would like to go to some and donate and borrow some books. This is very good, because people get to know what their community likes and might get along with each other.
    Critical Thinking Question Answer: The Little Libraries are better than a conventional library because you also get to donate books and know what types of books your community likes. You may also cross paths with one of your community members and get along with them.

  • quinn-rya
    6/20/2016 - 08:48 p.m.

    "Little library's" encourage you to take a book but leave one behind that you have read or don't want anymore so someone else can read it instead and they may have different books every time but it is always stocked full with books,all day,every day,24/7. They are also better because you don't have to pay money for each book you take,it's free!

  • sophiat1-rya
    6/20/2016 - 10:36 p.m.

    In little Libraries you can enjoy the books that other people like and you can share the books that you like.

    In Conventional Libraries there are lots of people there and you can't really find the book you want because the other people took it.

    Even though Little Libraries don't have alot of books and there might not be the book that you want, but there is a possible chance that it will be there because not alot of people will go to the Little Library.

  • caitlin-rya
    6/20/2016 - 10:36 p.m.

    The little library is convenient if you don't have a library near you. You can donate your old books there and get free books from there. When people go to little library's it shares books around the place. Little library's are better than conventional library's because they are on the streets in random places and when you can't find anything to read you can just walk to the not busy little library and get some books.

  • red-rya
    6/20/2016 - 10:42 p.m.

    A little library is way better because you can share books and also take some at the same time.I went to a little library and snagged myself a book and also put one there at the same time.I have to say I really liked that book I took!

  • sean1116-byo
    6/22/2016 - 03:04 p.m.

    This is an amazing way to connect with people. It is truly amazing people can think up of amazing ideas like these. It show that people are totally not into technology and spend there whole lives on their phones or tablets. I think it is also a great way of changing you old books for new books you have never read before. I do hope more little free libraries are installed so people can share their books around the neighborhood.

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