I vaguely remember seeing a few blog posts and photo-heavy features here and there in months past about tiny, DIY libraries. It always seemed to me like the sort of thing you might expect to see in one of those weird BuzzFeed roundups: 12 Oddball Book Lovers Who’ve Built Tiny Libraries On the Side of the Road, or something like that.
But according to the last edition of O’Reilly Media’s TOC Today newsletter (which you really, really should subscribe to if you don’t already get it), tiny libraries are now a ‘thing.’ That is, a trend—or to be more specific, a quickly growing trend, or perhaps even a movement—that is “popping up around the world [as a way] to give readers a place to borrow books,” according to the newsletter.
The newsletter, by the way, links to Take Part, a website that last Thursday, April 4, ran a seriously inspiring photo-feature on the DIY libraries, which are apparently officially referred to as “Little Free Libraries.” You should definitely check it out.
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If you’re someone who genuinely loves books, there’s pretty much no possible way to look at these photos and not want to build a Little Free Library of your own. Which, incidentally, wouldn’t really be all that hard, especially when you consider that a website called (of course) Little Free Library offers an online to-do list for anyone interested in putting a DIY Little Library in their neighborhood.
You can even order a pre-made Little Library right from their website. For anyone who’s serious about constructing their own, you’ll find more detailed info and instructions right here.
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The initial idea behind the Little Free Libraries, incidentally, was that the LFL organization (I believe they’re based mainly in Minnesota and Wisconsin) would actually build (and provide, free-of-charge) one of these little libraries to small, rural communities that didn’t have access to municipal libraries of their own.
Instead of checking out and borrowing a book in the traditional sense, visitors to Little Free Libraries are welcome to simply take a book. (For free, of course!) Visitors are also encouraged, but not required, to replace the book they take with a book of their own.
There’s a lot more to learn about the LFL movement, including a fantastic charitable mission that involves getting free books to Africa. And you can read all about it at LittleFreeLibrary.org. In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be in the woodshop.