This past week marks the 1 year anniversary of our Little Free Library (no. 3553). It probably would have been incredibly impressive if I had kept statistics on how many books were given away in the last year, and I like a good statistic, but that just didn’t happen. It wasn’t about the numbers, but about the people and the books we had the pleasure of putting out into circulation. Just like standardized test scores aren’t a measure of education, the number of books given away can’t measure the impact of a Little Free Library on the community. With that being said, there were A LOT of books that went through here.
We have been very fortunate not to have any major acts of vandalism, like some other LFLs have endured. There were some hijinks by neighborhood kids, but nothing really damaged, and some of our solar lights around the LFL have disappeared, but I try to take the attitude that someone must have needed it more than we did. The structure itself has held up beautifully. It weathered wind and winter rains, with nary a leak.
The LFL has allowed me to meet some of our neighbors. I have been pleasantly surprised by the generosity of others when books are donated, sometimes by the box full. I get excited when I go out to check on the LFL and find its shelves nearly empty, knowing those books have gone out into the world.
One of my hopes in putting up our LFL was that it could be a resource for those who cannot afford to buy books and might not have a permanent address, preventing them from getting library cards and further restricting their access to books. It has served that purpose, as well as getting books into the hands of children and adults. School children travel the route in front of our house on the way to/from school, and we see a lot of other foot traffic on our street. I get a little thrill every time I see someone stop and take a book.
So, if anyone out there has been thinking about jumping on this book mobile (seemed more appropriate than ‘bandwagon’), it’s an experience I would recommend. Be prepared for it to change your life in subtle, gentle ways. Know that you may give out more books than you receive, at least at first, and be prepared for inquisitive neighbors (especially children). There is a wonderful amount of information on the official organization site, www.littlefreelibrary.org about how to get started. There are free plans, kits, and pre-built units to serve just about every budget. If you don’t want to be a Steward but still want to be involved, there are ways to donate, from sponsoring book packs to run-of-the-mill monetary donations, and then you could add Library Philanthropist to your LinkedIn profile. Or, just find a LFL near you and pop in a couple books. Every little bit is appreciated. If you want more first hand information, I am happy to answer any questions and offer assistance.
A big thank you to everyone who has used, donated or just inquired about our LFL. It’s been a great year and I’m looking forward to the next.