It was Son who introduced me to today’s guest blogger, Alison. As soon as I discovered she was one of the many ‘owners’ of a Little Library, I knew I wanted to hear from her what it’s like and what she does. And reading about this has given me such a warm, happy glow. I do want a library myself, but fear not having enough time for it if it’s successful, or the sheer embarrassment if it isn’t.
Over to Alison:
The latest copy of Vogue UK nestles against Bob the Builder and Val McDermid in my Little Library today.
My street library is a focal point for the community. Books change rapidly. Sometimes gaps appear. Sometimes books spill on top of each other and try to burst their way out.
It has been in place for 2 years and has become part of the street and neighbourhood landscape. Despite Kindles, people love to hold a book and delight in finding a new author or a new book by a favourite writer.
Readers love to share their new finds and chat to me about the library and any new books they have read.
Local children took to the library immediately. They ‘got it’ straight away – choosing a book and bringing some from home to put in. They are proud to show off their ‘own’ library to visiting friends and revel in the fact that they’ve never seen another one.
In fact, Little Libraries are all over the world. They started in America in 2009 when Todd Bol built and put one in his front yard as a tribute to his mother who loved to read. By 2010 the name Little Free Library was established. By the end of 2012, 4,000 were in existence and Little Free Library became a registered non-profit organisation. There are now 60,000 registered libraries in over 80 countries.
The idea is very simple. Put the library in your front garden, accessible from the street at the height a seven-year-old could reach (the idea being that a younger child would be accompanied by an adult). You could publicise it, but in my experience you could just leave it and wait. People are curious and some adults suspect it is a book sale. Children have no such preconceptions. It’s a library. Borrow, read, bring back or give a new one. Simple.
The selection changes quickly and it’s difficult to say which titles are most popular. Crime is always a good one. Val McDermid, Kathy Reichs, M.C. Beaton and Agatha Christie have all made an appearance.
Children’s books range from board books to Harry Potter. Mr Men books come and go regularly.
There is a small notebook in the library. This is not to record borrowing but to add comments (see photo). The books are not labelled/stamped as I feel the books will be passed on and read by others and need never come back to ‘my’ library.
I wouldn’t be without my Little Library now. It fills me with joy every time I open it and find new books or if I find it almost empty. Someone is enjoying a good read and that is the best thing I can think of!