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Those Little Free Libraries

You’ve seen them around most towns.  Those home-made book exchange boxes or cupboards (usually colourful and funky) that folks place in front of homes, schools, and businesses. The simple concept is, take a book, and return a book. Some cities even have an interactive Google Map of where you might find a Free Library in your neighbourhood.

This is an opportunity for neighbours and strangers to meet, and share a book, ideas or at least a conversation. As yet, I haven’t met anyone at my Free Library which is just a few streets away from my home.

Amazingly – this ‘feel good’ project has developed into controversy in some places where detractors think these libraries are violating city building codes. As well, some librarians expressed concern that readers wouldn’t attend regular libraries if they had access to a tiny one close by.

I love my Little Free Library!

This week I had an amazing experience. I picked up two novels that made me smile.

  • Home Safe – by Elizabeth Berg (1999)

Now, I’m a big fan of this author. I’ve read some of her novels. She reminds me that authentic dialogue is the way to go. Her characters are real, troubled and fascinating. Sometimes I have to re-read a paragraph because it is written so well. I inhaled this novel. Elizabeth Berg writes slice-of-life, riveting fiction.

  • The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder – by Rebecca Wells (2009)

Oh yeah! This author wrote, Little Altars Everywhere, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Ya-Yas in Bloom. When I read her work, I’m reminded that quirky, eccentric characters are mesmerizing. As an author, I want to relax enough to enter into that free fall, creative zone and unearth my own bizarre people. I’m looking forward to diving into this book.

So, I picked up these books and then I’ve spent the rest of the week pondering:

  • Who owned these books?
  • Did one person bring both books?
  • Did the person donating actually read these books? Or were they just cleaning up someone else’s book shelves?

I’m curious about where the books came from? I think I might like this person.

Do you have a Little Free Library close to where you live?



    1. The first one that I discovered was in a busy area of Vancouver. And it had outstanding books. It definitely was a neighbourhood of readers. Thanks for commenting.

  1. Hi Jodie,
    I’m hooked on the look of the libraries. When I’m driving along and see one, I immediately think this is a good neighbourhood. They have their priorities straight.
    I love the mystery of not knowing who your reading buddy is.
    I hope the fad never dies.
    Thanks for the intriguing post. You always make me think and feel.
    all the best,

    1. Hi Jo-Ann,

      I totally love them as well. And yes, my mysterious reading buddy is ‘out there’ somewhere. Glad that I gave you something to ponder!

  2. It would be wonderful if we had a map to each of these treasure chests. But then, that would spoil the discovery.

  3. I love these free libraries too, Jodie. Anything that encourages people to read, right? And they’re whimsical. Whimsy and spontaneity are wonderful things.

    When we travel, I sometimes find them in campgrounds and I’ll often take a book and leave one of my own titles behind, hoping some other camper will discover my writing.

    1. I’m glad that the concept is spreading around the world. I always try to leave a book that has touched me in some way. Good plan to share your books with others. Thanks for commenting.

  4. I don’t have a free library near me, but have used them in the past. One place was in Japan, where it was very hard to find books in English. The community was very generous with their books.

    1. Yes, when you’re traveling it is often difficult to find books in English.

      One year, while staying in Lima, Peru I was so desperate for English material that I was reading badly written books, (before traveling with a Kindle) There are ways around some of these difficulties.

  5. I love catching sight of the free libraries when DH and I go for a drive! They’re an inspiration on their own, in addition to the treasures they hold.
    We have a free library in the community laundry room here, not quite as eclectic, but I like it 🙂

    1. It’s fun isn’t it when you see one that you haven’t discovered before.
      I thought about creating one, and then suddenly there was one three streets away. I find the concept intriguing.
      Thanks for commenting.

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