Thursday, November 22, 2012

‘Little Free Libraries’ top 3,000

"Little Free Library," a birdhouse-shaped structure filled with books
Source: Little Free Library
At, Diane Fittipaldi makes an interesting analogy: the growth of “Little Free Libraries” around the world is a type of microlending:
“I dug a bit and learned that a Wisconsinite started the idea three years ago to honor his mother, a former schoolteacher. But unlike regular libraries, he wanted to encourage people to share with each other, develop relationships through the books they read and build community among neighbors. Humble beginnings to be sure but what astounds me is how the concept took off, spreading coast-to-coast and even internationally without any marketing at all.”
I first learned of Little Free Libraries from a September 2011 summary on It stated that Rick Brooks and Todd Bol were on a mission to top Andrew Carnegie’s 2,509 libraries.
“The diminutive, birdhouse-like libraries, which Brooks and Bol began installing in Hudson and Madison, Wisconsin, in 2009, are typically made of wood and Plexiglas and are designed to hold about 20 books for community members to borrow and enjoy. Offerings include anything from Russian novels and gardening guides to French cookbooks and Dr. Seuss.”
The project resonated with me as an intentional small-scale librarian. Substitute a wheeled cart for the  “Little Free Library” to house a collection that I built to serve my church congregation. Or an online list of books that I curated for people on the autism spectrum.

These are my communities and this is how I choose to be of service to them. Perhaps a similar drive to share and inform motivated these libraries’ creation.

Fittipaldi counted three of the Little Free Libraries within a 10-block radius of her home. These neighbor-to-neighbor, book exchanges are entirely on the honor system.

If the number cited by Fittipaldi is correct, than Brooks and Bol have exceeded their original goal of topping Carnegie's 2,509 libraries. What a wonderful accomplishment and, as Fittipaldi points out, “without any marketing at all.”

Learn more about Little Free Libraries at My thanks to LAC Group on LinkedIn for sharing a link to Fittipaldi’s blog.

Published Nov. 27, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee

1 comment:

  1. I recently learned about these and love the idea! What a neat way to get people of all ages excited about reading.


Robust debate and even unusual opinions are encouraged, but please stay on-topic and be respectful. Comments are subject to review for personal attacks or insults, discriminatory statements, hyperlinks not directly related to the discussion and commercial spam.