There’s a battered blue mail box, shaped like a bread container, that leans precariously on a post on a busy street not far from my home. For a number of years, I never knew its purpose. One day a friend told me it was a citizen’s lending library — a place where folks leave used books for others to enjoy. I thought it was a lovely idea and now, when my snooty second hand bookstore rejects my trade-ins, I leave a good read there. Within a day or two, it always disappears.
Apparently, these lending library are more common than I realized. Recently, I read an article that listed their number at 7,500. One little bread box library provides free reading in a village where no public library exists. Anyone can set up a lending library and there’s a website that gives advice on how to do it: www.littlefreelibrary.org. The “libraries” come in all shapes and sizes. A bread box is common but bird houses are popular too.
Setting up a little lending library strikes me as a better way to pass books along than dumping them into a cardboard box and leaving them on a street corner where they will inevitably be ruined by the rain. Books deserve more respect than that.
Library week will be coming up soon (April 14-20). Setting up a little lending library may be a wonderful way to observe the event.
(Courtesy of www.littlefreelibraries.org)