Amid an economic downturn, and slashing budgetary cutbacks impacting publicly funded resources, the Little Free Library movement is taking hold. Part of a larger trend in America toward community, grassroots, and DIY mentalities, Little Free Libraries have been appearing in cities across the nation. The concept is simple; participants can purchase a ready-made, or build a small, house-like structure on a mounted post - about chest high, with dimensions of about two feet by two feet by one foot deep. The result is a small, single shelf brace of books, ensconced by a roof, and framed by a Plexiglas door. Makers ornament their Little Free Library to denote personal tastes and perhaps neighborhood decor. Librarians can get creative with design, and can tailor their offerings of books to reflect their reading interests. What emerges is a small stand on a person’s property, a tiny lending library within a larger network of participants. Participants register with littlefreelibrary.org, receive a number, and get placement within the non-profit organization’s database. Each Little Free Library becomes a steward of book lending - turning ordinary citizens into librarians.
Looking like roadside shrines throughout Catholic and Orthodox Mediterrania, tiny trailside commissaries along Alpine ranges, or even the stone dolmens of the ancient Celts, the Little Free Libraries act as beacons. Respite stops. Landmarks. Little shelves of possibility flanked in a cheery and inviting wooden box. Spines faced to the Plexiglas, a reader can browse. Exchanges happen with the Little Free Library - of books - of ideas, and it’s all done by regular people.