Little library boxes (also called Little Free Libraries, book exchanges or book boxes) are popping up all over the world – and here in Greater Victoria, BC! They come in many shapes and sizes ranging from a small box with 1 shelf, to an entire converted phone booth.
A Little Free Library is a “take a book, leave a book” gathering place where neighbours can share their favourite stories, used books and magazines. It is a box full of books where anyone can stop by, pick up a book or two, or leave a book for someone else!
You can even go online to register your library box along with over 20,000 Little Free Libraries registered from over 70 countries around the world.
The movement started in 2009 when Todd Bol of Wisconsin built a mini-model of a 1-room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother who was a former schoolteacher, who loved reading. He filled the first Free Little Library Box with books and put it up on a post on his front yard for all to enjoy. Read more about the start of this free book sharing movement.
A book box can come in any shape, size and colour, but they all share some characteristics in common that make them special:
- “take a book, leave a book” free exchange philosophy
- encourages resource sharing
- creates a gathering place
- personalizes public/private property
- promotes literacy
- brings neighours together
- showcases creativity, and
- it’s fun!
A book box is one way to get to know your neighbours, create a gathering place and contribute to a more vibrant sharing community. Every box is different and a showcase of creativity. Some people organize a book box launch party. Others get the children from around the block to help decorate their box. You can even put out dog treats to encourage people to stop by. The possibilities for community-building and creativity are endless!
Here is a great little video about how and why some Victoria residents got together to built 6 tiny libraries on their front yards.
Have you seen a little library while strolling around Greater Victoria? We created a map (see early version below) where people could post their locations, but unfortunately the data on the map was deleted by a user. If you’re interested in volunteering to recreate the map, let us know!
Feeling inspired and ready to get started on building your own book box? Here are some resources to get you on your way:
Guest Author Bio
Sarah Rose Robert
Sarah Rose Robert is Community Development Coordinator for Oaklands Community Association. She is interested in creative community engagement and collaboration for sustainability. She has a Masters degree in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability from Blekinge Institute of Technology (Sweden). You can find her riding her bike around Victoria, BC.
Visit Sarah Rose’s Blog / Website: http://rethinkurban.com/author/srose/