Value of Little Free Libraries

By Adeline Panamaroff

Tucked into the corner of someone’s property, or located next to a public playground, small wooden or metal boxes, built to be visually inviting, draw the passer-by in for a closer look. These little structures are the home of Little Free Libraries. Popping up everywhere in the communities I frequent like Blue Quill, Highlands, or Skyrattler, these libraries are providing an important service to the neighbourhoods they are appearing in.

Built on the premises of “Take-a-Book, Leave-a-Book”, little free libraries offer the community a free exchange of books that opens up access to literature that some may not have otherwise, and eliminates potential waste in the form of used books.

These little free libraries have also been serving as pick up points for other essential items like hand knitted toques, offering valued assistance to everyone, for free. 

I frequent my local Little Free Libraries to either drop off or pick up a new read. When I discover new Little Libraries, I work them into my regular walking route. Gifts for others have also been found at these community literary hubs. Any Chicken Soup For The Soul books have made their way from these free libraries and into the hands of my grateful Mom. My overcrowded craft bookshelves have also seen relief when an under-appreciated project book gets left behind by me at one of these little libraries. I have noticed that these books have often gone to a new home by the time I make my rounds again at these locations.

Official or unofficial, these Little Libraries serve a quiet but important function in all the communities that they live in. Spreading the love of literacy, and sometimes warmth, benefits everyone with the gift of sharing and accepting. If these Little Free Libraries are the beginning of similar methods of sharing excess resources, like garden produce, or knitted socks, for free, I look forward to what next pops up on my neighbourhood streets.

There is an official Little Free Library registration site here if you want to start your own and have it geotagged for easy location on Google maps.

You can also see the map of registered Little Free Libraries here.