Are you trying to encourage a child to read more this summer in order to avoid the “summer slide”? Here’s a suggestion I learned about while driving around Orlando a few weeks ago.
I saw what looked like a bird house on someone’s front lawn near the sidewalk. “That’s too low to be a safe house for a bird,” I thought, so I investigated. The structure, made of wood with a glass front which opened and closed, contained about a dozen books.
It was a lending library on a private citizen’s lawn.
Perhaps you have a Little Free Library in your neighborhood too? They were started in 2009 by Todd Bol who constructed a single box, but the idea has spread across the US, Canada, and Mexico to 70 other countries. There are close to 100,000 registered Little Free Libraries, part of a nonprofit organization started by Bol.
The idea is that anyone is free to take a book or leave a book from the Little Free Library. Usually the family who establishes the Little Free Library takes care of it.
If you want to start a Little Free Library of your own, you can order your own library box fully made. Or you can order construction plans to create your own. Or if you have a flair for building, you can create your own. Pictures I’ve seen include light house inspired boxes, phone booth inspired boxes, and simple wooden crates.
Some people add personal touches to their Little Free Libraries such as benches, a guest book (as simple as a spiral notebook), a handle to which you can attach your dog’s leach while you browse, bookmarks, pencils, crayons and solar lights. But all that is really necessary is a weather-protected box and some books.
What kinds of books? Whatever you think your neighbors will enjoy. Picture books, graphic novels, biographies, decorating magazines, sci fi, thrillers—any kind which you think your neighbors will appreciate.
The Little Free Library has its own website with an interactive map that makes it possible for you to find a Little Free Library near your home. When I checked, I found two within two miles of where I live in Georgia.
For more information, go to https://littlefreelibrary.org.