The Little Free Libraries Of The World

These little libraries are spread across continents and follow the concept of book sharing between communities to inspire the habit of reading among more people
These libraries are present in 115 countries. Credit Shutterstock
These libraries are present in 115 countries. Credit Shutterstock

Imagine you are taking a stroll through your neighbourhood, and you come across a uniquely shaped little structure in the middle of the road filled with a handful of books. In that case, you might have happened on a little free library

What Is A Little Free Library

In 2009, Todd Herbert Bol, a Wisconsin local, used wood from his old garage door to make the first library-on-a-stick as a tribute to his mother. The first library resembled a one-room schoolhouse filled with books and was for Bol's mother, a schoolteacher who loved reading. Eventually, Bol and his partner built several other wooden book houses around their neighbourhood and nearby regions. The idea spread, and since then, these Little Free Libraries have gone on to be present in 115 countries, with over 1,50,000 public book exchanges being registered with the organization. The Little Free Library nonprofit is based in St. Paul, Minnesota, in the United States.

How To Use Them

The idea behind the Little Free Libraries is to "take a book and share a book". Any passerby can stop and pick up a book they want to read from the libraries and replace it with a book they would like to share with others. There is now a dedicated map and even a mobile app that uses GPS to locate these free book dwellings for ease of access.

Where To Find Them

If you are in the US or Canada, it is pretty easy to spot one of these wooden structures filled with books on most blocks and neighbourhoods. However, internationally they are harder to locate. Even though around 115 countries have registered with the organization, finding the locals who would take the initiative to build these can be difficult. From Italy to The Philippines and even Armenia, these little libraries are spread all over the world. There are even some in India. You can download the Little Free Libraries app on your phone for free and use it to locate your nearest library. The app lets you get directions and track the libraries you visit. If you are a Little Free Library steward, you can edit your listings on the app in real-time.

Who Can Start It

Anybody can become a steward anywhere in the world. All you need to do is go to the organisation's website and click the &ldquoStart a Library&rdquo tab. There is a process of registration that you will need to follow, and then you can build your library wherever you want to. When you register, you will be assigned a charter number that will put your library on the organisation's official map so that people near your library can find you easily. You can download the app and make changes to your listings as well.

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