I’m back from Seattle and will have a post about that delightful city soon, but in the meantime, let’s chat about little free libraries. On our trip we stayed in the charming Seattle area of Ballard, and I saw tiny free community libraries whenever and wherever we walked. They perched near the street in front of homes like oversized birdhouses, beckoning curious readers and fostering a lovely sense of community. I. Was. Smitten.
After a bit of research, I found that Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring a love of reading by inspiring book exchanges all over the world. Statistically, children growing up in homes without books can lag about three years behind their peers with lots of book access, and these tiny neighborhood gems aim to bridge that gap by providing 24/7 access to books in areas where they might otherwise be scarce. Currently Little Free Library has over 70,000 libraries in 85 countries, with millions of books borrowed annually. On their site they offer free instructions for building little libraries, support for obtaining free or discounted books to stock them, and a store where you can buy kits and pre-built models if you’d rather not build one for yourself. On the user end of the spectrum, their site offers a map to help people find and share books wherever they are. So great!
It makes me deeply happy that people are building their communities around a shared love of reading this way. If I didn’t live so close to a good public library, I would add one to our yard. Maybe I still should? Either way, I know there is a thriving network of tiny libraries in Ballard, WA, to inspire me.