Little Free Libraries are here. And there. And more are on the way.
The community movement aims to locate tiny book exchanges here and there for use by local communities — for people to “Take a Book, Leave a Book,” as the slogan goes.
It landed here last year when Neighborhood Alliance of Central Oklahoma, the American Institute of Architects Central Oklahoma Chapter, Full Circle Book Store, Barnes & Noble and the Start Helping Impacted Neighborhoods Everywhere (SHINE) Program of Oklahoma County came together to establish a dozen or so Little Free Library locations in the metro area.
Neighborhood Alliance solicited applications from neighborhoods to provide locations and care for the Little Free Libraries.
AIA Central Oklahoma solicited teams to design and build each of the libraries.
The idea is for the little libraries to fit their neighborhoods' “genre.” So far, there is a mobile one in the Plaza District, designed by architect Kenneth Fitzsimmons of Task Design Inc., and another one at 3128 NW 20 in the Linwood neighborhood, by TAP Architecture and Guernsey.
“They come in all shapes and sizes and are constructed from all kinds of materials. Local architects and contractors are donating time and materials to design and build the libraries for Oklahoma City neighborhoods,” said Melissa Hunt, executive director of AIA Central Oklahoma.
It all started in Hudson, Wis., when Todd Bol placed a decorative wooden container made to look like a schoolhouse on a post in his yard as a tribute to his mother, who was a book lover and schoolteacher.
By February, all 50 states and 40 countries had little libraries, including rural areas with no other libraries.
More information is available at www.littlefreelibrary.org, but here are a couple of great Q&A's from the site:
Q: Won't people steal the books?
A: No. You can't steal a free book. And if you have a good steward and lots of active users, eventually someone who tries to “steal” books will realize that it's not a good thing to do. An official Little Free Library book label or stamp in the book will also help prevent used bookstores from buying them.
Q: What's so special about having a Little Free Library?
A: If this were just about providing free books on a shelf, the whole idea might disappear after a few months. Little Free Libraries have a unique, personal touch and there is an understanding that real people are sharing their favorite books with their community. These aren't just any old books, this is a carefully curated collection and the Library itself is a piece of neighborhood art!
How cool is this? And what sights for sore eyes for those of us who, for all the reading and writing we have to do digitally, prefer to do our serious reading, or our reading for pleasure with actual books.