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, where book fans and people with a do-it-yourself streak came together to promote 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 when a resident of Hudson, Wisconsin, named Todd Bol built a little model of a one-room schoolhouse. He filled it with books. He installed it in his front yard as a tribute to his late mother in 2009. 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.
 
For the most part, Little Free Libraries have been embraced 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 obtained online at 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 (8)
  • Steve0620-yyca
    7/12/2016 - 05:46 p.m.

    I did not know there were such things as a "little library." They could be built anywhere so people could stop by and borrow a book. I think that these libraries will be useful to almost anybody because they can put their favorite books in there. However, there were problems with it. Some people had to remove it or pay fines for it. I think that to avoid these problems, people could place it in a place with people's permissions.
    I think that it is better than a conventional library because it takes up a little amount of space and can be built almost anywhere. People do not need to register or sign in for it. People could also fill it up with the books they need so they do not have to search for them. In conventional libraries, people have to search for a long time to find the book they want.

  • heatherb6828-
    8/01/2016 - 08:59 a.m.

    I think the little Libraries are better than conventional public libraries.The reason is it in more convient for more people.You can bring back the books when ever you are done,and then you can go back and get a new book.

  • bradyq-
    8/01/2016 - 09:05 a.m.

    A little library is better than a conventional library because you can keep a book as long as you put a book back. Also you can find a little library on the go. For an example, if you are driving by or on a run you could find one. And another benefit is that they have no due date.

  • emmab12342625-
    8/01/2016 - 09:12 a.m.

    I think the little library is better than a public library because there are no limits to how many books you can take and there is no due date on them. Also the little library is easier for family's because they don't have to drive all the way to the public library and its also a good way to help people want to read

  • gavinc1768773949-
    8/01/2016 - 09:12 a.m.

    The little library's are better than conventional libraries because you can take a book you don't have and a book you already read. You can put it in the library.You can talk to the kids that your reading with and you don't need to SHHHHHHHH. In a little library you don't need to ask the librarian to show you where a book is that you can't find. In a little library you see all the books in there. That's why little libraries are better than a local library.

  • sgrab-wim
    9/16/2016 - 01:14 p.m.

    A little library can be better than a conventional library because it is more convenient for people in your neighborhood to 'swing by' and grab a book.

  • carolinec-pav
    9/20/2016 - 09:59 a.m.

    I think it's so cool that there is such thing as little libraires! It's very convinent to, you can pick up a book and know it's going to be good because people put there favorites in it. I also think that they should have more of them around.

  • meghanp-pav
    9/21/2016 - 09:57 a.m.

    It's better because you can take out a book for as long as you want and there's no due date. You wouldn't have to sign up for this and it can go almost anywhere.

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