Have you taken part in the world’s largest book-sharing movement? You may have participated without even knowing it.
Nearly 100,000 public and private Little Free Libraries stand across 90+ countries. These boxes, ranging from strong and simple to incredibly ornate, play an essential role in community building and literacy. Learn more about Little Free Libraries below, as well as where to find them around Western North Carolina.
What is a Little Free Library?
The Little Free Library (LFL) grassroots movement began in Wisconsin about 10 years ago to inspire reading, community, and creativity. LFL boxes are designed to provide 24/7 access to books in areas where they are scarce.
While not all community library boxes are registered through the program, a vast number are. Many of these registered boxes sit on posts outside homes, on curbs and sidewalks, or near community centers and bus stops. Designs vary widely, but by and large, LFLs feature a clear door that opens at about eye level to a selection of new and gently used books for readers of all ages and interests.
Little Free Libraries enhance neighborhoods, both aesthetically and on a personal level. According to the LFL website, more than 73% of people say they’ve met more of their neighbors because of a Little Free Library. What’s more, 92% of people say their neighborhood feels like a friendlier place because of these library boxes. What other neighborhood feature offers such a positive response?
Next time you pass a Little Free Library, check out the selection. Take a book from the library (either to keep or to read and return later) or leave a book you’d like to share with others in your community.
Where can I Find a Little Free Library in WNC?
The Little Free Library organization maintains an interactive map of registered LFLs around the world. In Asheville alone, more than 40 libraries appear on the map, from the Burton Street community to Haw Creek, and from Woodfin to Skyland. When available, the map lists not only the address of the LFL, but features photos and a message from the sponsor.
Many Little Free Libraries are located in residential communities, offering access to people who walk by with their family or pets. One local nonprofit, the POP Project, manages a handful of libraries strategically placed at public housing communities, bus stops, and food pantries in Buncombe County. Their goal is to provide books where there are few or none. Especially at bus stops, POP believes LFLs give local residents an opportunity to transform their waiting experience into a moment for learning or entertainment.
Outside of Buncombe County, the LFL map shows two libraries in Hendersonville; one each in Black Mountain, Canton, Sylva, and Tryon; and three near Brevard. However, these numbers only represent LFLs registered with the global organization. It’s likely that many more exist across WNC without appearing online. The best way to discover a LFL near you may be to explore your neighborhood and come across one in person.
Visit a Little Free Library Today!
Little Free Library has partnered with Goodreads to declare this week Give a Good Read Week (September 16–22, 2019). Celebrate by visiting a Little Free Library book-sharing box today! Connect with other participants by snapping a photo and posting it social with #LFL10 and #GiveAGoodRead.