I just discovered the concept of the Little Free Library, and I am absolutely thrilled by it! People build a small box (weather proof!) in which they place about twenty books, and people can take one of the books as they leave another. The libraries look like big bird houses or small dog houses, some of them sitting up on posts, others on the ground, and others hanging on walls inside places like cafés.
Todd Bol and Rick Brooks of Wisconsin decided to “endow” these little libraries, reasoning that they could help build community and enjoyment for local people. So they founded Little Free Library, and people sign up to install and maintain a library of their own. They can order one from the original makers, or build their own. (There’s now a Facebook Group devoted to these Little Library builders.) And they can decorate these small libraries and make them beautiful: have a look at some great examples on the original art page!
Isn’t this just the greatest idea? It reminds me somewhat of Book Crossing, the program where you label a book and record where you left it on the website, and then wait for someone to find it and — hopefully — post that they found it, read it, and are passing it on. (The site describes the process as “releasing” a book into the wild, where hopefully someone “catches” it before “releasing” it again.)
Bol and Brooks started in Madison, Wisconsin, but now things are expanding. There are a few in Chicago, and they’re talking to Long Island, New York as well as other places. Hm…I wonder what would happen if some versions of the Little Free Library started showing up in Toronto!