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Little Free Libraries - What They Are and Why We Love Them

Dated: October 17 2023

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Cooler weather calls for curling up with a cozy blanket, lighting your favorite candle, and reading a good book!

Buying new books can be expensive, so borrowing from your public library is always a great option. Rhode Island and South Eastern Massachusetts are fortunate enough to have a fantastic public library network with millions of books at our fingertips from the Barrington Public Library, Rogers Free Library, the Seekonk Public Library, East Providence Public Library, and Providence Public Library just to name a few. But not every community is so lucky.

Fortunately, organizations like Little Free Library are working to offset restricted book access around the world and we're thrilled to share about it.

  

Image Credit: The New York Times

What Are They?

Little Free Libraries are small wooden hutches filled with free books! They're usually placed in high-traffic hot spots along the road so you've likely passed them while driving.

Their concept is simple: take a book, share a book. 

Little Free Libraries are a great place to drop off any books you're ready to part with and grant another life while picking up some new reads from an ever-changing inventory!

You could visit a little library one week later and be met with a completely new selection of books! But if nothing catches your eye, just continue down the road and you're sure to find another with different options.

How Did They Start?

The organization began in 2009 when founder Todd H. Bohl created the first Little Free Library at his home in Hudson, Wisconsin. Just three years later, there were over 2,000 volunteer-led little libraries around the world when the nonprofit organization was officially established.

According to the New York Times, "Mr. Bol, considered libraries to be part of the connective tissue of communities, where everyone was welcome and reading could be encouraged..." Now spanning across the world, his organization is emulating just that. 

Little Free Library is headquartered in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and encourages the building of community, inspires readers, and expands worldwide book access.

Image Credit: Philanthropy Daily

Where Are They?

So far, there are over 150,000 little libraries in all 50 states and more than 120 countries. The organization estimates more than 300 million books have been shared so far.

There are more than 50 Little Free Libraries in Rhode Island and South Eastern Massachusetts! Click here to view their map and find one near you.

Want to Get Involved?

Are you interested in starting your own Little Free Library? Click here to be taken to their website and learn more.

1 comments in this topic

  • Posted by Bobby Basnet
    10/20/2023
    Not only are they so helpful but also they look so pretty. I get so excited every-time I see one. Has helped me survive gruesome shift hours. Thank you for this article Rachel.

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