I see a new project on the horizon! Little free libraries are little more than a box on a post in front of your house, with the simple instructions to “take a book, return a book.” The mission of the organization is pretty simple too:
- To promote Literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.
- To build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.
- To build 2,510 Libraries–as many as Andrew Carnegie–and keep going!
There are two boxes in Bellingham already; the image at the top is a little library that was built in front of a home near my work.
I live in a wealthy town, full of educated upper middle class people, and I doubt most people give a second thought to literacy. But illiteracy is a reality, even in our quaint town, especially among the migrant workers. And easy and free access to books is a key tool.
I’m reminded of the school where I taught in rural Kenya, where books were currency. In fact, books were so prized that the school couldn’t have its own library, because the books would all be stolen. It’s a sad reality of scarcity. Which is why I’m intrigued by the Worldreader and One Laptop per Child programs: if every child in a school has an e-reader or a laptop, there’s no more have and have-not. It levels the playing field and gives every child an equal advantage. What incredible programs!
The Little Free Library program enables free book exchange in every community, whether or not the community can support a full public library. This is a great idea for small towns or inner city neighborhoods. My town happens to have a fantastic public library with numerous branches, but I like the idea of a community-centered book box, where my neighbors can exchange books and get to know each other through their reading material. Look for future posts as I break ground on my Little Free Library.