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The Little Free Library Book

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"The Little Free Library is a terrific example of placing books—poetry included—within reach of people in the course of their everyday lives. Free is always a good thing, and the project has a nice give-and-take feel to it. Here's hoping we bump into literature when we turn the next corner—before we have time to resist!"—Billy Collins "Take a book. Return a book." In 2009, "The Little Free Library is a terrific example of placing books—poetry included—within reach of people in the course of their everyday lives. Free is always a good thing, and the project has a nice give-and-take feel to it. Here's hoping we bump into literature when we turn the next corner—before we have time to resist!"—Billy Collins "Take a book. Return a book." In 2009, Todd Bol built the first Little Free Library as a memorial to his mom. Five years later, this simple idea to promote literacy and encourage community has become a movement. Little Free Libraries—freestanding front-yard book exchanges—now number twenty thousand in seventy countries. The Little Free Library Book tells the history of these charming libraries, gathers quirky and poignant firsthand stories from owners, provides a resource guide for how to best use your Little Free Library, and delights readers with color images of the most creative and inspired LFLs around. Margret Aldrich is a freelance writer and editor. Her articles have appeared in the Utne Reader, Experience Life!, and elsewhere. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her family.


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"The Little Free Library is a terrific example of placing books—poetry included—within reach of people in the course of their everyday lives. Free is always a good thing, and the project has a nice give-and-take feel to it. Here's hoping we bump into literature when we turn the next corner—before we have time to resist!"—Billy Collins "Take a book. Return a book." In 2009, "The Little Free Library is a terrific example of placing books—poetry included—within reach of people in the course of their everyday lives. Free is always a good thing, and the project has a nice give-and-take feel to it. Here's hoping we bump into literature when we turn the next corner—before we have time to resist!"—Billy Collins "Take a book. Return a book." In 2009, Todd Bol built the first Little Free Library as a memorial to his mom. Five years later, this simple idea to promote literacy and encourage community has become a movement. Little Free Libraries—freestanding front-yard book exchanges—now number twenty thousand in seventy countries. The Little Free Library Book tells the history of these charming libraries, gathers quirky and poignant firsthand stories from owners, provides a resource guide for how to best use your Little Free Library, and delights readers with color images of the most creative and inspired LFLs around. Margret Aldrich is a freelance writer and editor. Her articles have appeared in the Utne Reader, Experience Life!, and elsewhere. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her family.

30 review for The Little Free Library Book

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Vegan

    Highly recommended for: all humans. Especially recommended for people who’d like to have a little free library, visit little free libraries, donate to little free libraries, help build little free libraries, anyone who has the slightest interest in LFLs. I dare any book lover to read this book and not want a LFL of their own or at least to become involved in some way with LFLs. This book isn’t exactly what I’d expected. Yes, there are stories about LFL and photos, but part of the focus is on actu Highly recommended for: all humans. Especially recommended for people who’d like to have a little free library, visit little free libraries, donate to little free libraries, help build little free libraries, anyone who has the slightest interest in LFLs. I dare any book lover to read this book and not want a LFL of their own or at least to become involved in some way with LFLs. This book isn’t exactly what I’d expected. Yes, there are stories about LFL and photos, but part of the focus is on actually creating/having one, and sometimes giving one. It’s a reference book. It is also a book filled with great short stories and photos of LFL that show incredible creativity. I loved the quotes, seeing all the LFLs, and especially hearing people’s stories. I appreciated how even when people bought their LFLs from the official organization, they often personalize them. Since I first learned of them I’ve always wanted a LFL but am not in a position right now to have one. I might be able to have one someday and this book got me thinking about how I’d like it to be. I’m still thinking. I already know I’d prefer it to be able to hold as many books as would be feasible in its location and to have different sections for children’s vs. adult books and books that will appeal to readers with all sorts of interests. This a great coffee table book but also a book with substance. I looked through it first and read and viewed certain parts before I read it cover to cover. (I did just skim some of the detailed building instructions, though I loved some of the suggestions for building materials, etc.) There are many emotionally touching stories, and a lot of interesting stories and information, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the LFL and their stewards from many parts of the world. It seems if a LFL is in a good location it’s at least just as good as having/walking a dog for meeting and getting to know people. Just a very few of many interesting tidbits: One LFL structure shown is a cabinet from IKEA. (It’s the kind of thing anyone could “build” and cheaper than buying an official one. It’s fairly large too so can hold many books.) According to one real estate agent, if a LFL is on the block a house up for sale on that block will sell faster. Who knew that in a book about LFL I’d learn about couchsurfing.org?! I hadn’t known that to be a true LFL it has to be registered (some in my neighborhood aren’t) and that if you register you get all sorts of cool freebies. I learned that LFL sometimes contain things other than books! Seeds, etc. etc. etc. I particularly liked the idea of putting some dog biscuits in and a water bowl on the ground for dogs, and definitely having something to sit on beside the library, a little free treasure chest that contains such things as little toys& stickers, etc. for kids, having a neighborhood free/trade box nearby. Also, for those who can, putting herbs, vegetables, flowers nearby and encouraging library patrons to take some of those home. (I thought I’d be a books only purist but ended up loving the alternate contents ideas, at least in addition to books.) I loved the two pages “Drawing Attention” for “urban sketchers” about drawing/painting LFLs and the 5 examples included, and loved the 2 pages of “Artistic Exercises” too. This book really does have something for almost everyone. My favorite parts were reading the personal stories and seeing photos of the LFLs. Some of the most heartwarming stories are in the chapter about problems that can arise. Most of the stories are wonderful: inspiring, moving, uplifting, poignant. I love the meaning these LFL have for so many and how this is a worldwide movement. Seeing the books in the LFLs made it hard not to look up books to add more to my every growing bloated to read shelf, but had I attempted that in earnest it would have taken me months to read the but I couldn’t resist checking out a few unknown to me books. There is too much in this book to have the “Contents” be that useful but just to give some idea: Contents: Foreword Introduction Chapter 1: Why Little Free Libraries? Chapter 2: Get Started – Lunching a Little Free Library Chapter 3: Build Community – Using Little Free Libraries to Come Together Chapter 4: Grow Literacy – Using Little Free Libraries to Celebrate Reading Chapter 5: Be Creative – Using Little Free Libraries to Kickstart Creativity Chapter 6: Make It Work – Finding Solutions for Challenging Situations Chapter 7: Do Good – Using Little Free Libraries to Pay It Forward Epilogue: Oh the Places You’ll Go! – A Letter from the Cofounder Appendix: Connect with Little Free Library; Construction Plans; Tips for Builders; Installation Instructions; Door Counter Instructions; Yarn Bombing Instructions; Call for Stories Acknowledgments Photo Credits

  2. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    At last, a way to realize my dream of being a librarian!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Picked up for the pictures of cute and clever LFLs. Also enjoyed the lists of tips for planning/ building/ publicizing/ etc. and a few of the anecdotes and essays. Skipped most of the essays just because I'm not particularly interested. Learned that registering one's LFL includes bonus materials, not just number & plate. Want to remember to make the LFL also be a Geocaching cache to attract more ppl to our semi-rural cul-de-sac. Check out Playing with Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, an Picked up for the pictures of cute and clever LFLs. Also enjoyed the lists of tips for planning/ building/ publicizing/ etc. and a few of the anecdotes and essays. Skipped most of the essays just because I'm not particularly interested. Learned that registering one's LFL includes bonus materials, not just number & plate. Want to remember to make the LFL also be a Geocaching cache to attract more ppl to our semi-rural cul-de-sac. Check out Playing with Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining the Book, The Repurposed Library, Book Art: Creative ideas to transform your books - decorations, stationery, display scenes, and more and Pinterest for possibilites for books that need to be weeded. Consider adding a Little Free Treasure Chest for kids' stickers, plastic toys, pretty rocks, etc. Find a green "library" sign, perhaps on ebay.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bogi Takács

    This was fun and inspiring. Sometimes maybe a bit TOO enthusiastic, but it did have a section about the possible difficulties too. It did not say much about the #1 difficulty in local LFLs though: ants and spiders. O.O I also think it overstated the sustainability of LFLs without regular curation, poking at them, etc. I have seen so many that are basically stagnant. But I have also seen great ones, so it is definitely possible to have a quite active LFL. I really liked the idea of coordinating be This was fun and inspiring. Sometimes maybe a bit TOO enthusiastic, but it did have a section about the possible difficulties too. It did not say much about the #1 difficulty in local LFLs though: ants and spiders. O.O I also think it overstated the sustainability of LFLs without regular curation, poking at them, etc. I have seen so many that are basically stagnant. But I have also seen great ones, so it is definitely possible to have a quite active LFL. I really liked the idea of coordinating between neighborhood LFLs and producing a walking trail that touches upon each one. There were 87439284732 different ideas in the book and everyone will like something else. I want to build and set up a LFL as a summer project, but definitely not this year. I felt this book was a great resource for that and it really got me thinking. Source of the book: Lawrence Public Library

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    A total feel-good book for book lovers ! The concept of having mini-libraries of the "take a book, bring a book" principle is instinctively appealing to all people who can never have enough books. Not only that, the pictures show an amazing variety of Little Free Libraries, wrought out of all imaginable materials and decorated with care and love - from the LFL covered in a hand-knitted sweater to the LFL with outer walls covered in buttons or Mardi Gras beads. The book consists of a short introd A total feel-good book for book lovers ! The concept of having mini-libraries of the "take a book, bring a book" principle is instinctively appealing to all people who can never have enough books. Not only that, the pictures show an amazing variety of Little Free Libraries, wrought out of all imaginable materials and decorated with care and love - from the LFL covered in a hand-knitted sweater to the LFL with outer walls covered in buttons or Mardi Gras beads. The book consists of a short introduction of the purpose and philosophy of the LFL movement, some blueprints on how to build your own LFL, but the main focus of the book is the collection of stories and pictures of people who have become "stewards" of LFL. Their stories have a common theme : they started the LFL because they love books, or wanted to bring books to underserved areas, but they found out that the LFL created a sense of community, of shared responsibility. Time and time again you read in these mini-profiles how the stewards of the LFL met new neighbors, or became much more active participants in the lives of their neighborhood, just because of the little structure standing in their front yard. I have never seen a LFL, but after checking the website, I found that there were 2 not too far from where I live, and I'm determined to go check them out... and leave a book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Jacobs hessler

    I LOVED this book! I think it is so cool to have Little Free Libraries in public places for everyone to have access to the books. People can take the books free of charge. You can also, donate any books that you would like to share. The book has the most beautiful pictures. It shows different type of Little Free Libraries that people have all around the world. There are instructions in the book on how to make the Little Free Libraries or you can buy them from the non profit Little Free Library. Thi I LOVED this book! I think it is so cool to have Little Free Libraries in public places for everyone to have access to the books. People can take the books free of charge. You can also, donate any books that you would like to share. The book has the most beautiful pictures. It shows different type of Little Free Libraries that people have all around the world. There are instructions in the book on how to make the Little Free Libraries or you can buy them from the non profit Little Free Library. This is a great book for anyone who ever showed an interest in them. This book is highly recommended!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    RATING: 3.5 STARS (Review Not on Blog) I picked up this at the library as I have been seeing Little Free Libraries more and more in person and social media. This is a cute book on what the concept of them are, what they look like and how you can set up one. It is a cute book to look through!

  8. 4 out of 5

    reading is my hustle

    review to follow. teaser- my family built me one of these for mother's day (!!) but it still needs some finishing touches. i want to be able to include pics in my review. :) review to follow. teaser- my family built me one of these for mother's day (!!) but it still needs some finishing touches. i want to be able to include pics in my review. :)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    A fun book that chronicles the history of the little free libraries with lots of individual stories and pictures of their library creations from the stewards responsible for each one. Inspired me to take a bunch of my Goodreads giveaway books to stock the little free library located in our subdivision’s park. Hope someone enjoys them as much as I did!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

    Loved this so much. I am making one.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

    Interesting book about the rapid growth and popularity of Little Free Libraries. Inspirational stories of why people built them, and how it brought strangers and neighbors together to create a better community. Inspiration to build one myself come Spring time. Maybe even a "mobile" one to take camping with me. Interesting book about the rapid growth and popularity of Little Free Libraries. Inspirational stories of why people built them, and how it brought strangers and neighbors together to create a better community. Inspiration to build one myself come Spring time. Maybe even a "mobile" one to take camping with me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anna Catherman

    An enjoyable little read all about little libraries! From the story of the very first Little Free Library and many other inspiring stories from around the world to practical tips on how to help little libraries, to instructions on building a little library of your own, this book has it all.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura (Book Scrounger)

    This book is both informative and inspiring. There are lots of illustrations of unique Little Free Libraries that people have built in various landscapes, a history of the movement, as well as plenty of personal stories about how they have enriched communities.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Melissapalmer404

    Book #34 Read in 2016 The Little Free Library Book by Margaret Aldrich I am contemplating putting one of these little free libraries up at my house. The premise is you put out some books and people "take a book, leave a book". This book told the stories of some of the people who take care of these little free libraries, which can be found all over the world. It was a cute read. I borrowed the book from my public library. Book #34 Read in 2016 The Little Free Library Book by Margaret Aldrich I am contemplating putting one of these little free libraries up at my house. The premise is you put out some books and people "take a book, leave a book". This book told the stories of some of the people who take care of these little free libraries, which can be found all over the world. It was a cute read. I borrowed the book from my public library.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Janice

    Most of this book is stories about the various Little Free Libraries around the world. How the steward was inspired and how he or she made it happen. There is also suggestions and do's and don'ts if you plan on starting one yourself plus plans on how to build a basic one and install it. The best are the pictures of many of these little gems. Most of this book is stories about the various Little Free Libraries around the world. How the steward was inspired and how he or she made it happen. There is also suggestions and do's and don'ts if you plan on starting one yourself plus plans on how to build a basic one and install it. The best are the pictures of many of these little gems.

  16. 4 out of 5

    TriCedratops

    A good little read about the Little Free Library Book movement; how it started, personal stories, plenty of great tips and info to get your own started. That being said, the book was 'wordier' than I hoped, I would have liked to see many more large pictures of the library boxes from around the world, particularly the unique, artsy, and eccentric. A good little read about the Little Free Library Book movement; how it started, personal stories, plenty of great tips and info to get your own started. That being said, the book was 'wordier' than I hoped, I would have liked to see many more large pictures of the library boxes from around the world, particularly the unique, artsy, and eccentric.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Heydi Smith

    Yes! Yes! And yes! This book is for a bibliophiles as cookies are for Cookie Monster. Spreading literacy is our main goal and these free libraries accomplish just that. I love this book!!!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Vickie

    I've had so much fun going through this book in the anticipation of having my own little free library! I've had so much fun going through this book in the anticipation of having my own little free library!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Nice book for what it is: a collection of stories about people's Little Free Libraries. Charming stories, and I often found myself reporting bits and pieces back to my partner, which is usually a sign of a good non-fic for me. Not super instructional though, which I was thinking it would be - much less guidance, more motivation. There are a lot of pictures, but I find a lot of them are a bit dark or small to really make out library details. It also tells the history of the Little Free Library mov Nice book for what it is: a collection of stories about people's Little Free Libraries. Charming stories, and I often found myself reporting bits and pieces back to my partner, which is usually a sign of a good non-fic for me. Not super instructional though, which I was thinking it would be - much less guidance, more motivation. There are a lot of pictures, but I find a lot of them are a bit dark or small to really make out library details. It also tells the history of the Little Free Library movement, and there is one library pattern at the end. There are more patterns in the next LFL book (which I've also just picked up, as I'm planning to build one), Little Free Libraries and Tiny Sheds: 12 Miniature Structures You Can Build to Enhance Your Yard or Neighborhood. One thing that drove me nuts was the judgey tone I read - twice - toward romance novels. Must a book about the love of books denigrate a genre that is a third of the book market? (From the book, in what books to remove from your LFL: "If you don't want hot-blooded romance novels - where all the men have hairless chests and all the plots are poorly written - by all means, yank them." - Are they intending just a certain segment of the romance market with this?).

  20. 4 out of 5

    McKenzie Richardson

    For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-CycleSuch a fascinating and beautiful book. Wonder about the origin story of all of those Little Free Libraries you see everywhere? Want to be part of the movement and install your own? This book has you covered. Complete with gorgeous pictures of various LFLs around the world, this is a fantastic book for everything Little Free Library. This book includes how LFL got started as well as many heartwarming stories about stewards from around the world. Th For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-CycleSuch a fascinating and beautiful book. Wonder about the origin story of all of those Little Free Libraries you see everywhere? Want to be part of the movement and install your own? This book has you covered. Complete with gorgeous pictures of various LFLs around the world, this is a fantastic book for everything Little Free Library. This book includes how LFL got started as well as many heartwarming stories about stewards from around the world. There are also sections with tips on how to make your own library, how to get the community involved, how to make the library a success, and how to do more with your library. At the end of the book in the appendix are construction plans, installation instructions, and lots of tips on the actual physical library construction. Great resource for people who want to build their own library. And throughout it all are wonderful pictures of various LFLs, from simple to extravagant, from traditional to creative. It was so fun to look at the pictures and all of the creative ways people made their libraries their own. Excellent read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kjersten

    This book was so charming! I love picking up new reads from LFLs so I enjoyed learning more about the history behind them and hearing stories from people people that they have impacted all over the globe. It definitely makes you want one of your own. ;) Lots of fun stories and pictures of little libraries - some made entirely of ice, hidden in a hollowed out tree, or decked head to toe with mardi gras beads! I do wish some of the pictures were a bit bigger but overall it was a cute read. Would be This book was so charming! I love picking up new reads from LFLs so I enjoyed learning more about the history behind them and hearing stories from people people that they have impacted all over the globe. It definitely makes you want one of your own. ;) Lots of fun stories and pictures of little libraries - some made entirely of ice, hidden in a hollowed out tree, or decked head to toe with mardi gras beads! I do wish some of the pictures were a bit bigger but overall it was a cute read. Would be a fun coffee table book to spark some interesting conversations. I found it interesting how they addressed "...the rising power of a gift economy. I think it makes people happier to share their belongings (and receive from others in return) than to always strive to make more money and buy more stuff." I love that acts of kindness like this can also set off a chain reaction! One steward calls Little Free Libraries "an oasis of serendipity" because they enable the lost art of browsing. "It's easy to go online, find exactly the book you want, and it'll be at your house in two days... but you don't get the opportunity to browse." I didn't realize how much I enjoyed and have missed browsing until this was pointed out! Overall a very cute read. More information than I expected and has an inspirational / uplifting tone.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    A good book about Little Free Libraries, and it shares the stories of how they came about. From their location to personal stories of why they were built, and how they were decorated and what books are included. It shows plans on how to build one, as well as do's and don'ts. Personally, I found the book to be boring, and it took me forever to finish. It was very wordy, and not enough pictures. Many of the interview questions and answers were repetitive and not of interest to me. I have been a LF A good book about Little Free Libraries, and it shares the stories of how they came about. From their location to personal stories of why they were built, and how they were decorated and what books are included. It shows plans on how to build one, as well as do's and don'ts. Personally, I found the book to be boring, and it took me forever to finish. It was very wordy, and not enough pictures. Many of the interview questions and answers were repetitive and not of interest to me. I have been a LFL steward for 3 years, and I just purchased this book, not knowing it wasn't a new edition. Its a nice looking book and it came with a fun metal bookmark, but the content was boring for me. Perhaps to someone who is thinking about getting / building a LFL, this book would make an ideal read. But for someone who has experience, not so much.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sue.the.very.busy.reader

    We are starting to draw out our plans to build our Little Free Library. I started an IG page for it if you want to follow along @theverybusylittlefreelibrary. We are going to have the grandkids decorate it with TVH caterpillar 🐛 and butterfly handprints. I am super excited about it, my husband is on board but excitement level is low because he has to do a lot of the work. If you are thinking of starting a library this book is a good place to start. It has all kinds of ideas from building a LFL t We are starting to draw out our plans to build our Little Free Library. I started an IG page for it if you want to follow along @theverybusylittlefreelibrary. We are going to have the grandkids decorate it with TVH caterpillar 🐛 and butterfly handprints. I am super excited about it, my husband is on board but excitement level is low because he has to do a lot of the work. If you are thinking of starting a library this book is a good place to start. It has all kinds of ideas from building a LFL to hosting your grand opening and then continuing to maintain it. I had no idea how world wide LFL are, it's amazing.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    This is a loving homage to the Little Free Libraries everywhere. The book covers the beginning of the concept to the world-wide spread of what has become a community asset. The various people, variety of designs, struggles with construction and, sadly, some destruction combine with the reasons people create these little libraries. Overall the sense of community drives the continuation of the ever-changing collections and also drives the movement as a whole. This is an enjoyable collection of sto This is a loving homage to the Little Free Libraries everywhere. The book covers the beginning of the concept to the world-wide spread of what has become a community asset. The various people, variety of designs, struggles with construction and, sadly, some destruction combine with the reasons people create these little libraries. Overall the sense of community drives the continuation of the ever-changing collections and also drives the movement as a whole. This is an enjoyable collection of stories about people, gathering together through the love of reading.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Lovely book by a lovely author! We have been wanting to build a LFL for the longest time. This book is full of inspiration, tips, sweet anecdotes about the community and kindness that a LFL can bring to a neighborhood. This book offers endless creative ideas for building/designing/launching/curating, along with personal stories from stewards. It even touches on the not so fun aspects of vandalism and maintenance. Off to sketch my design and start scouting materials!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chanel

    The Little Free Library is a wonderful literacy promoting movement. This book for anyone who is interesting in promoting literacy, wants to create a library for their community, spread the love of reading and it is filled with ideas from awesome building models and why at 2018 there are a close to 70,000 of the libraries across the world. Read on:)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Becky "Blueskies" Chabot

    I absolutely loved the gift of this book from my son. The beauty of the Little Free Library concept has taken on a new life as I act as a steward for my sister's Memorial Little Free Library. I look forward to creating a LFL mobile library to share the beauty of books as I traverse the country in my RV! I absolutely loved the gift of this book from my son. The beauty of the Little Free Library concept has taken on a new life as I act as a steward for my sister's Memorial Little Free Library. I look forward to creating a LFL mobile library to share the beauty of books as I traverse the country in my RV!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This is a fun coffee table book about the history of little free libraries. There are tons of pictures of unique libraries, and stories of libraries throughout the world that are changing lives. The end of the book includes plans for making and installing your own little free library.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    19 LFL and counting, I was so thrilled to be given a copy of this book directly from the founder. Now that he has passed, it is even more precious to me. RIP, Todd. Your vision has created far more than even you could have anticipated.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    A wonderful exploration of the Little Free Library phenomenon! Reading it only makes me want to design and put-up my own LFLs for the neighborhood.

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