Skip To Content

Librarian in Residence: little free libraries to call your own

By Jessica Green on September 23, 2013

I recently visited friends in Madison, Wisconsin, and one the goals of my trip was to see a Little Free Library which I managed to do quite quickly, as there was one on the way to the grocery co-op my friends use. What is a Little Free Library? According to Little Free Library, it all started in 2009 when “Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading.  He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard.  His neighbors and friends loved it.  He built several more and gave them away.  Each one had a sign that said “FREE BOOKS.” They reached the goal of matching the number of Andrew Carnegie libraries (2510 libraries) in 2012, and predict that “By January of 2014, the total number of registered Little Free Libraries in the world is conservatively estimated to be between 10,000 and 12,000, with thousands more being built”.

I find this to be absolutely fascinating, as there are so many articles both serious and cheeky about the change we are currently undergoing from print to digital. I doubt we’ll have seen the end of the book anytime soon as there is such a following for used books. Think of book sharing in cafes and hostels, or even how the used book stores anywhere usually have a few peoples in browsing the goods. The Little Free Libraries are a neat way of sharing books in areas that may not have a library branch or book store close by. Originally I was going to say that there wasn’t a Little Free Library here in Ottawa, but thanks to Anglo-Celtic Connections, there is indeed one located on Garrison Street. I do think Ottawa needs more of these all over the place. I almost want to become a homeowner just to have one in my yard!

Coming up on September 24th as part of the 4th annual Teen Author Fest, the Sunnyside branch is hosting author Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity and the recent sequel Rose Under Fire. There’s been huge buzz around Code Name Verity amongst my colleagues, so consider this a must read for adults and teens for 2013. For more information about the event, click here.

Quick picks:

Wild Ones by John Mooallem – A thought provoking look at the conservation of birds, bears and butterflies, and raises a great many questions about how do we protect species in an imperfect and changing world.

Queen and Country: Volume 1 by Greg Rucka– A very cool spy tale with SIS field agent Tara Chace. If you like international intrigue, borrow this now!

The Management Myth by Matthew Stewart – If you ever wondered why managers and CEOs do things that seem counter-intuitive, this book may have the answers why. Terribly entertaining.