Do you know what a Little Free Library is? It's a really fun thing!
Little Free Libraries (LFLs) are grassroots collections of books and other reading material accessible to everyone, maintained by citizens and sometimes nonprofit groups. The Little Free Libraries are generally little "buildings," so to speak, like outdoor dollhouses, out in neighborhoods where anyone can walk up and borrow or drop off something to read. In an honor system, borrowers bring back books or bring new books or bring them to other LFLs. (Check out the LFL website.)
I just love the idea of the Little Free Library, helping to boost literacy and the love of reading in our neighborhoods! I bet you have one or more LFLs in your area. Here in Cedar Falls, Iowa, we have six. Well, five, actually. (That will become clear later.)
Shall we go on a tour?
Right outside of Cedar Falls, to the north a couple miles, there's an LFL that's memorable because it looks like the TARDIS from Doctor Who. That's the
This next LFL is, like the last, also out in the country. It looks like a high-end log cabin with a fancy green front door that has a picture window in it.
In the middle of town, this next LFL is the first one I ever saw. I was out for a walk and saw what looked like a little blue house on a short pole, in a sleepy neighborhood not too far from downtown. When I looked inside it, I was amazed to see it contained books. And right next to it, a park bench. So cool.
I saw that this 8th Street LFL had a plaque on it, with an internet address. When I checked that website later, I found out there's a huge network of thousands of these libraries. The website features a map and photos of all the LFLs. I quickly located the other ones in my town.
This next LFL is a block away from the high school. I wonder how many students walking home have noticed it and stopped to borrow books. I certainly hope they have.
In the bottom picture above, you can see the cover of a book I borrowed from the 12th Street LFL, The Girl Who Became a Beatle by Greg Taylor. With my interest in rock & roll and pop culture, I really enjoyed this fun YA novel. The front cover is very cleverly designed; the characters from the novel are posed and lit like the Fab Four on the cover of their LP Meet the Beatles.
This next LFL is a different type. As you can see below, it's very close to the ground. In fact it rests on the ground. It is on the grounds of the Cedar Valley Preschool and Child Care Center. It's a library of books for the children of the center. It's a little different from other LFLs because it's not accessible to the public. The cool thing about it is that these kids learn about libraries and the fact that libraries have books just for them!
This last one is technically not an official Little Free Library because it is not registered with LFL Central. But it works exactly the same way. It's a bright purple color, which helped me spot it when I was driving through the neighborhood. It features not just books but also magazines and CDs. Very cool. Architecturally, this little "building" is distinctive because it has clerestory windows that help to light up the inside of the library.
I hope the people who run this last free library will register it with Little Free Library HQ. That way, their library will be listed on the website and also appear on the LFL map. And anyone around the world can find them by address.
Added 19 July 2015: I saw todayWell, that's our tour of Cedar Falls Little Free Libraries. Hope you enjoyed that. If you live nearby, check out one — or all (!) — of the local LFLs. Take a book, leave a book, enjoy!
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