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Exploring The Little Free Library Community

Amber Brandt  |  February 28, 2022

Have you ever seen a Little Free Library box in a neighborhood near you? Today there are more than 100,000 registered Little Free Library book-sharing boxes in 108 countries worldwide. This equals three Little Free Libraries for every public library in the United States!

This literary movement began in 2009 by Todd H. Bol, who built the first Little Free Library as a memorial for his late mother. Now it’s a nonprofit organization based in Hudson, Wisconsin with a global book-sharing community. 

How do they work?

According to their official website, “A Little Free Library is a free book-sharing box where anyone may take a book or share a book.” The program functions on the honor system, but you don’t have to share a book to take one. Simply return the favor to that location or any other local library when you can.

The vision of Little Free Library is to have an installation “in every community and a book for every reader.” Because they “believe all people are empowered when the opportunity to discover a personally relevant book to read is not limited by time, space, or privilege.

Why does access to books matter?

Our country is facing a literacy crisis. Today in the US, “more than 30 million adults cannot read or write above a third-grade level,” and “two out of three children living in poverty have no books to call their own.” But research shows that access to books can have a meaningful impact and improve literacy over time. When books are near a home – outcomes improve.

How can I find a Little Library?

Search this helpful map to find a Little Free Library box registered closest to you, or check out their mobile app. You can access the boxes 24/7 – or create and register your own! And if you’re interested in swapping books even more organically, visit this website to discover other ways you can access, exchange, and trade books for free.