With over 175 little free libraries around the CRD, chances are there is one near you. These little boxes of books which operate on the principle of ‘take a book – leave a book,’ are adorable, unique placemaking elements. And with an ever-changing supply of books, they just beg to be photographed. Here are some tips for taking ‘Instaworthy’ photos of a little free library near you.
- The ‘Shelfie’
The ‘shelfie’ is a closely-cropped image that features the inside of a little free library so that its current selection of books is clearly displayed. It’s always a good idea to tidy up the library before you take the photo, so it looks inviting and well-kept, and people can clearly read the book spines. On more than one occasion I’ve had someone race over to a little free library to get a particular book based on a shelfie I’ve posted.
- Adding a book
Often when I am adding a new book to a library, I’ll take a selfie or a photo of the book in hand, against the backdrop of the library. This features the book up-close, and when you post the photo you can give a brief description of why you enjoyed the book so much or a brief synopsis. One of the best parts about little free libraries is simply sharing those books you’ve enjoyed so much with others, and in turn, finding great reads that are a joy to spend time with.
If I’m dropping off quite a few books to an LFL that’s a little on the empty side, I’ll often tidy up the library while I’m at it and take a before and after photo.
- Featured book
When I find a particularly interesting or well-known book in an LFL, I’ll often feature it by putting the full cover on display and taking a photo. This serves to attract people’s attention and encourage them to go out and visit the LFL. For curators of little free libraries, this is a particularly fun type of photo to take, plus you’ll have a record of all the most interesting books that have passed through your library. I particularly love to feature books by local authors or Canadians.
- In situ
While taking a close-up photo of a closed LFL shows off the design, capturing the LFL along with the surrounding street has become my favourite way to photograph LFLs, and has several advantages.
Showing the streetscape allows people to more easily find the LFL if the spots on the map don’t quite line up exactly.
These wider angle shots also provide the surrounding context for the LFL; capturing any accompanying placemaking elements (like benches, gardens, or notice boards), presenting the environment in which the LFL can be found, as well as the season, weather, and overall streetscape – in a sense, capturing the character of the LFL.
Does the LFL hide behind foliage, lending it a secretive air?
Or does the LFL protrude from the very living rock itself, giving it a sense of solidity.
Or does the LFL stand alone in the open, plucky and iconic?
Perhaps the LFL is brightly coloured on an otherwise muted fence, giving it a showy and fanciful character.
Maybe the LFL matches the house in front of which it can be found, giving it a well-organized feeling, or the sense of cuteness that comes with miniaturization?
A LFL next to a bus stop may have a utilitarian feel.
Compared to one tucked away in a garden, which might instill feelings of discovery.
Why is this important? Placemaking is all about transforming space, making it somewhere people want to be. Unique features like LFLs, encourages exploration, creates contexts for diverse people to meet, and results in interesting public places in which we want to spend time.
The Greater Victoria Placemaking Network has many resources to help you engage in placemaking, including our LFL map. Find an LFL near you, bring over a favourite book or two to leave, and take a photo to post to your social media. Be sure to tag @VicPlacemaking ! Happy placemaking!