Tiny Libraries

Regular readers who have been with me since long, long ago may remember a discussion while in Bogotà about their mobile and distributed libraries. I am happy to report that I have found something similar in Madison. Here, The Little Free Library is everywhere: at the park, the grocery store, in tons of front yards. Books rotate in and out, you take what you’re interested in an leave your old books if you wanna pass them on to others.

I love this idea and I think it is a great indicator for neighborhoods. The presence of the library is itself a great sign. It signals individuals striving to create community in some small form. The books inside give you an idea of some of the interests of folks in the neighborhood. For the libraries in folks’ front yards I always assume they are filled with books from the homeowners and I am getting a view into their personal paths. People also customize their libraries: some have dual French doors, others are miniature versions of the house they stand in front of with matching trim colors, others are collective efforts of the community members adding accouterment over time. I guess they could be magnets for spray paint and/or other outlets for teenage boredom. Here is a piece on them from the Wisconsin Magazine.

Yesterday I walked by one in someone’s front yard a noticed the Complete Guide to Homeschooling. I let it be, but I am thinking of picking up the Gaylord Nelson Biography from the one at Wingra Park. I’ll see if I can get through it before Earth Day next week.

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