Today’s Chicago Trib ran a front page story on the popularity and the global growth of the Little Free Library movement which has been reported about on this blog a number of times in the past. Free books housed in charming (weather-proof) little structures are placed on private property for passersby to use. They can borrow and donate as they wish; the movement’s motto, “take a book, return a book” says it all. The good folk who manage a Little Free Library are called stewards, and are responsible for building (or buying) the structure, stocking it initially with some books, and maintaining the tiny collection. Little Free Libraries have popped up worldwide, but so far none in Evanston. According to the organization’s location map, the closest suburban one is in Glenview. Click here to see a photo gallery of Little Free Libraries around the country. Whenever the daily news stories bring me down, I delight in learning about things like this: simple, earnest efforts of good people to bring reading, enjoyment, community, style and fun together for everyone to share.
I was impressed with the originality of these library projects and I think you’ll agree. Take a look at the colorful, imaginative space at the Topeka children’s room (brief video included), where a huge dinosaur is resting his feet on the floor. (Sorry, they just can’t find his head in the ceiling…) A little more tame is the the large school bus that kids can climb on and read inside. Or, if that’s not exciting, how about the huge aquarium embraced by the equally enormous octopus? I can see these additions spurring young readers on to inspired learning and reading.
A totally different concept– Would you be interested in donating food instead of paying library fines? Before the administration gets hot under the collar about losing revenue, let’s state that it’s only for a short time. Also, it doesn’t cover lost or damaged items. The Morristown, NJ, library is offering to accept non-perishable food items to assist the Interfaith Food Pantry starting October 21 until Nov. 9.
This last idea is in line with the Little Free library movement, which we’ve covered here a couple of times, but this model stands out uniquely. A funeral home in Iowa City has set up it’s own “grief” library, housing assorted books on bereavement, suicide, death, and loss. The owner thoughtfully has placed the books outside the funeral home to enable easy access for mourners to browse materials. There are about a dozen volumes outside among the hundreds in the facility.
This small sample of current library ideas reflects how vital libraries are to their communities. I will be blogging about a few more fascinating topics that indicate how much people depend on and love their libraries for so many different reasons, ie, libraries are not going away anytime soon!