I am again taking a slightly different approach to the Thursday Doors theme. For one thing, it’s not Thursday . . . but these are still doors. They just aren’t doors that humans can literally walk through. They are doors to the imagination: doors to books!
Little Free Libraries (LfL) started with a Wisconsin man in 2009. According to their website, their mission is:
To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide and to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.
There are now over 40,000 of them worldwide, and they’ve had a Twitter account since 2011.
I vaguely knew about them when I lived in the Boston area, but I can’t remember if I’d ever seen one. I certainly didn’t know about any close by. Then I moved to California.
My first weekend here, I went to the UU Church of Palo Alto, and I saw the LfL pictured above. I posted it on Facebook with the caption, “Gotta love a church with a Little Free Library.” That church lives its love of literacy in other ways too, with reading groups and a thriving bookstore.
And if I look around just a little bit, I find that they’re all over the place. There are 5 registered in the Mountain View zip code alone. And every now and then, an LfL has a geocache too. I think that geocaching and Little Free Libraries are kind of spiritual cousins. They’re both free, shared community activities where enthusiasts leave objects for others to find, to return, to exchange, and enjoy. I left a few copies of Geocaching GPS in some local LfL earlier this year. You can even track their journeys like geocaching trackables using BookCrossing.com.
I recently read an absurd and anger-inducing article about some neighborhood busybodies who want to get rid of LfL by making people apply for permits and threatening them with fines. (I’m not angry about the article itself–it has useful information and history–but about the trend it describes)
Some day, I hope soon, I am planning to put up an LfL with a geocache and a supply of geocaching-themed books, as well as others. Until then, I will keep visiting the others in the area.