Rick Brooks to make more. Little Free Library officially became
the name in 2010. It was registered as a nonprofit in 2012. The
organization has spread from Wisconsin to 80 countries, from
Pakistan to Brazil to New Zealand.
“There’s something about the act of sharing and community
and love of reading that has really struck a chord all around the
globe,” Aldrich says. “We all have books sitting on our shelves in
our houses, and it’s exciting to give this book a new life in the
hands of someone else.”
The little libraries can be simple, like a recycled newspaper
box, or extravagantly built in the shape of something like a
Victorian house or a rocket ship. The creativity put into each
box is up to the imagination of the steward who builds it.
“I think people connect with Little Free Libraries because it’s
really fun, and it’s this whimsical, kind of magical thing that you
find on the sidewalk,” Aldrich says. “It’s the charm factor they
are initially drawn to.”
Stewards are responsible for maintaining their boxes, keep-ing
them nice, neat and stocked with books.
“Nobody really claims to ‘own’ their library,” Becker says. “It
belongs to the community and is meant to encourage reading,
community spirit, and service to others.”
Typically, children’s books need to be replenished the most
often. Paul Smith, a volunteer for the box in Smith Creek Park in
Wilmington, has noticed this trend.
“The adult books tend to be self-sustaining as borrowers
tend to ‘take one, leave one,’” he says. “That’s not the case with
children’s and young adult literature, which we need to replen-ish
maybe once a month.”
Aldrich, who lives in Minneapolis, set up her own Little Free
Library on her busy block. It has a painted yellow door and a
fox head doorknob. She says her children, who are in elemen-tary
school, enjoy checking the box every day to see what new
books are inside. She, too, keeps a guestbook in her box for
users to leave a note, picture or poem.
“It can be really heartwarming to know who is using the
library and what it means to them,” Aldrich says.
The tiny libraries can also work with public libraries as out-reach
tools. In the summer of 2014, the New Hanover County
public library system and the parks system placed boxes in
Kings Grant and Arrowhead parks. Now, boxes are located in
Northern Regional, Hugh MacRae, River Road, Smith Creek and
The boxes originally were dubbed “Park Pages,” a title that
was quickly forgotten in favor of “Free Little Libraries.” The col-laborative
effort combines two of the county’s strategic objec-tives:
literacy and healthy living.
“Get them outside, and give them a book,” says Paige
Owens, New Hanover County Public Library assistant
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