Little Free Libraries

The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library. – Albert Einstein.

This is certainly true for my family. I have fond memories of going to the local public library when I was a child. Since my own children were babies, I have brought them to libraries. Every city we have lived in, we have made trips to our local library a priority. Even on vacations to new places, I look for libraries to visit. We have discovered so many wonderful ones: some with beach views, some in big cities and some nestled in the mountains of small towns. My children have also grown up going to the Kihei public library. When they were preschoolers, we regularly attended weekly story time and other special events. Now we visit weekly to check out books on a variety of interests.

During a brief mainland move last year, my children and I discovered a new kind of library: A Little Free Library! We first saw this simple wooden box, filled with a dozen books near a police station and busy outdoor community area. Then in Oregon, we discovered more: many more! Some were simple and functional and others could be considered a work of Art: decorated and painted in all kinds of styles and variety. They all had a “Little Free Library” plaque and charter number, usually with the words: “Take a Book, Return a Book”.  They all had free books inside!

There are more than 25,000 LFL (Little Free Libraries) around the world, in all 50 states and 80 countries. They were created to “foster literacy” and bring communities together. Remember the concept of asking your neighbor for a cup of sugar? Well, Little Free Libraries are intentionally placed to create a sense of community and a way for neighbors to connect. A simple wooden box, installed in an accessible spot: A residential neighborhood or near a community center, park, school, senior center. Little Free Libraries easily create sharing with neighbors: giving to others and also help promote literacy and a love for reading. “Parents who have books in the home increase the level of education their children will attain up to two grade levels.” (Olivia Quintanilla).

So, what about Maui? There is currently one registered LFL on this island. It would be a great achievement to see more. The easiest way to start a Little Free Library, is to build one yourself or order one from www.littlefreelibrary.org. Fill it with a variety of books for all ages and interests. As the library “steward” you will want to care for it, maintain the book supply and see what is taken or what is added. Little Free Libraries can be a small but significant way to give back to our community: Sharing with our neighbors, engaging with others, all while helping to promote and encourage reading among our Maui keiki. Little Free Libraries are an attainable way to promote this and help enrich childrens’ lives… one small wooden box at a time!

Image Credit: Little Free Libraries Fb page

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