I have a friend who is fixated with the little free libraries that you may have seen around your town. There are only four of them in my town, this one shown here. Now our objective, is to have more added. Places like Lake Worth, Florida, have as many as 80 around their town! It started small and grew from there.
According to Lake Worth resident and artist AnnaMaria Windisch-Hunt, Palm Beach County has a REAP program (Resident Education to Action Program) that funds the boxes now through grants. The libraries started off with three, where AnnaMaria had a couple of sailors build the boxes. “The three were hand built with re purposed items and dumpster diving. One looks like the replica of the owner’s home. The other was done from a hope chest and mine incorporated [AnnaMaria’s late husband] Fred Hunt’s dresser,” she says.
She went on, “We ask all the talented artists in the community to paint one and they all come out. Now we have someone local who is able to build them. The only ones what required variance were in public right of ways. i.e Forestation, the ones by City Hall. Everyone is on board. In fact the Library used to divest of books via selling or trashing if they were in good condition they would now be kept and picked up by the Library Steward.” It’s so popular that she can no longer get books at the library but now they are looking to publishers for donations.
She has a story about the library boxes in her Lake Worth Every Minute blog.
These Little Free Libraries or “book boxes,” as they are called are loved by the neighbors. There is one at LoKal, a local burger place, they call it the “bootleggers library.” That’s Adrian from Lokal, he enjoys the library and has some great suggestions for restaurant guests.
The advantage of these little libraries are that neighbors meet neighbors through them and in a way, they are sharing more than just neighborly visits. Books are being shared that were read by neighbors who are now sharing the books with fellow neighbors. It would be interesting to see what books are being shared in which neighborhoods.
A nice project would be to have a bunch of the libraries sponsored and then maybe painted by artists, like we did in our town a few years ago with painted peacocks. In this digital age, its nice to hold paper and ink in hand, have the smell and feel of an actual book and enjoy sharing it.
There are more than 50,000 book boxes around the world in 70 countries; they are in all 50 US states.
This is an excellent idea to share the books you already read and loved.
Read Tom Falco’s daily Tomversation blog for his take on arts and culture and sometimes comics and sometimes history!