Have you visited a little free library in your neighborhood? Have you seen these little structures that look like a bird house or a mail box on a post filled with literature? A little free library is exactly what the name implies: a small, no cost book lender for anyone to enjoy.
I visited three little free libraries in Urbandale while I was out running errands one day. I had heard a story about them on public radio and just thought it sounded like a neat idea. I didn’t realize there were so many right here in Des Moines! Each little library I visited had a unique selection of books and they were all built and decorated differently. Each place was also landscaped beautifully with a bench or table and looked very friendly and inviting.
So how does a little free library work? It is simple: all you do it take a book, leave a book. They are designed to encourage people to find a passion for reading and also to build friendly neighborhood connections as people stop and browse while they are out with their kids or walking their dog. I found two great books when I visited: an encyclopedia of sharks for my son and a hardbound Taste of Home collection filled with yummy recipes. Many other books looked interesting and some even had music and audio CD’s or community fliers. Each little free library has its own unique selection.
At one library, the owner saw me pull up and stepped outside to say hi. I told him I liked how he had so many great children’s books and asked him if there were lots of kids in his neighborhood. He said there weren’t as many as he would like to see but wanted to encourage them to get out, take a walk, and pick up a book from his little free library. I thought that just sounded great!
I just think this is an awesome idea. I would love to put one up in my neighborhood or nearby park and just fill it with lots of books I know people would love. If you are interested in hunting down a little library to check out for yourself you can find an interactive map of those in the area at: littlefreelibraries.org. Maybe one is right in your neighborhood!