You see them all around town. And you’ve probably thumbed through their offerings. We’re talking about the adorable Little Free Library boxes that sprinkle most neighborhoods in Portland. Have you ever wondered where they came from or how to get your own mini front-yard library? Well, we’ve got some answers!
Little Free Library is a non-profit organization that was founded after one guy, Tod H. Bol, put up a library box in 2009. The goals of this organization are to build community, inspire readers, and expand book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led little libraries.
It doesn’t stop there. Through their Impact Library Program, the Little Free Library organization has provided over a thousand no-cost book exchanges to communities where books are scarce. Also, a new initiative called Read in Color is working toward bringing diverse books to Little Free Library boxes. Kicking off in the Twin Cities, Read in Color distributes books that provide perspectives on racism and social justice, celebrate BIPOC and LGBTQ voices, and incorporates experiences from all identities for all readers. Hopefully this program will be introduced to other parts of the country (and world!) soon. It’s nice to know that Little Free Library is not just cute, but doing real good in so many communities.
If you’ve been thinking about putting one of these libraries up in front of your house, the steps are pretty simple:
1) Find a legal and safe spot to install one.
3) Register your library. The benefit here is that your library will be added to the world map. There are currently over 100,000 Little Free Libraries all over the world.
If you like what you see, but don’t have a space for your own library, you are always welcome to donate… or just for fun, put together your own library tour! For a good (local) starting point, check out @littlefreelibrarypdx on Instagram.