Report from the Little Free Libraries Walk
23 Lovers of Libraries and All Things Book set out on a 4.5 mile loop around Sebastopol to tour the 8 Little Free Libraries in town for the first time – no wait, there are 9! A new one was known and forwarded from the walkers!
While each of the outdoor libraries looked different, the stories of their “stewards” [I had called the hosts “librarians” and was corrected] were fairly similar. Stewards were lovers of books [several retired librarians] who wanted to open their front yards and draw in their community.
One steward, located a block from SEB’s Senior Center and the Regional Library, at the home of long-time Public Library Volunteer, reported 30-50 visitors per day. He was considering installing a camera, from which he could design an [electronic] flip-book to visually demonstrate the community-rich activity. Another future steward reported wanting to build her LFL in Santa Rosa to deter vandalism in her neighborhood. Since her opening, people have met each other, the knitting of community is well underway, and there has been no more vandalism.
The LFL movement intends to spark creativity, as evidenced by the no-look-alike structures that the SEB Walkers saw. Some LFL were kits, including variations, and others were entirely original, including one built out of recycled remnants from the steward’s home remodel project. Being very practical, stewards considered no-leak roofs and doors. Some LFLs were traditionally posted on one beam recently set in cement while others stood on an antique bureau, a wine barrel, and a fence post.
Clearly, each LFL promotes accessibility to books. Given the statistic that 61% of low income families do not have books at home for their students, the neighborhood circulation and inspiration that LFL offers is crucial. Those involved want to inspire literacy, reading readiness, the joy of knowing books AND the joy of sharing.
Five steps to “ownership”
- Identify and steward a location
- Build your LFL
- Register on the national website
- Develop support — have a grand opening!
- Add yours to the worldwide network
8 of our original 23 finished the long course. Several of those who left the route early intend to go back another time to see the LFLs they missed, and the newer one on Bodega Avenue.