Little Free Library is an amazing movement that began in Wisconsin, America in 2009 when a chap named Todd Bol built a model of his school, placed it outside his house and filled it with books that could be read by others in his community. The idea was, for obvious reasons, loved by his friends and neighbours and so now this gorgeously simple and generous idea has spread across the world with an estimated 25000 Little Free Libraries in use last January (and growing all the time). Little Free Libraries promote literacy in both adults and children and celebrate and share a love of reading – but they also foster a sense of shared community because the library becomes something kept full and loved by the people that use it. I love living in London but it’s a vast and busy city that can sometimes lack the softer side of community – I feel like these library projects could bring some of that back.
So why am I talking about this now, so long after it started? Well in 2014 Little Free Libraries started to pop up in Walthamstow (you can read more about that here) which is when I first heard of the project. I read all the time and I love discovering books I never knew existed so the idea of taking a few beloved reads to share with others and then collecting some exciting new works to delve into sounded fantastic. But – I’m lazy – I didn’t make the trip to Walthamstow to check those libraries out and I stuck with my kindle, reading on the tube and avoiding eye contact with the world around me.
But the other day I noticed that there is now a Little Free Library in Finsbury Park – in the park!! Painted with quotes by Oscar Wilde: “With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy?” and Shakespeare “I like this place and willingly could waster my time in it” this pretty blue box is already full of books. I can’t wait to go and make my trade.
Have you spotted a Little Free Library near you?
What book would you donate and what book would you hope to find?