Little free libraries (LFLs) are amazingly versatile, and many have bulletin and blackboards for sharing information about community events (or just corny jokes), as well as shelves and cubbies for leaflets and brochures. In this way, LFLs are an excellent way of sharing new ideas and building community.
I regularly tour little free libraries around the CRD by bike and top up their collections – to date I’ve delivered more than 30,000 books, but I’ve also delivered a wide range of other things as well.
Partnering with Vic Stamps, I recently helped deliver 350 ‘Start in Stamp Collecting’ packs to over 100 little free libraries in Victoria, Saanich, Esquimalt, and Oak Bay. And I can’t wait to deliver more!
But in addition to delivering books and tidying LFL collections, I’ve dropped off book marks for the GVPN and the Victoria Literacy Connection.
During the height of the pandemic I helped deliver packets of chalk as part of the GVPN’s ‘Chalk Your Walk’ project.
And GVPN volunteers recently helped deliver 300 copies of Happy City to LFLs around the CRD as part of the #HappyYYJ project.
Along my tours I’ve found LFLs hosting petitions for issues effecting the local community, signs for lost pets, signup sheets for crossing guards, a wide range of brochures and leaflets including community newsletters, information about emergency response programs, and content from local artists.
Some LFLs have blackboards and community message boards where people can share information about community events, or just share a joke or some poetry.
For those who are not familiar with the SS Rock Hunt, there is an amazing community of people who hide delightfully painted rocks all around the region, with LFLs playing a prominent role. One LFL in Saanich even has its basket of painted rocks.
There is also a group that is distributing seeds to LFLs around the region, just in time for spring!
During the pandemic, a couple of LFLs have been sharing free reusable masks.
And I particularly liked the LFL in Saanich that had a notebook in it that served as a paper help line of sorts during the height of the pandemic – if people needed help with something, say picking up groceries, they could write in one section of the book, and if they could offer to help someone with something, they could write in another section of the book.
There has also been an increase in LFLs dedicated to things other than books, and I’ll have to write another blog post to highlight little free libraries specializing in sharing seeds, plants, puzzles, toys, household items, school supplies, and food.
the fantastic thing about LFLs and placemaking is that what might start off as just a box for sharing books can quickly turn into much much more!
It’s amazing how many creative ways people come up with to help transform their communities!
Teale Phelps Bondaroff
Pocket Places Project Lead
Greater Victoria Placemaking Network