Random Lengths News

Little Free Libraries

- By Lyn Jensen, Columnist

“If we could just get this bookcase out of here,” said a profession­al organizer, sounding more like an interior decorator, as she looked around my mother’s old bedroom. The bookcase is squeezed against the wall at the foot of the bed, with perhaps a foot of space between, but the simple fact is, there’s no place else to put the books.

My family’s library currently takes up five bookcases scattered around the house, and still some of the book collection spills over into a box, while some old collectibl­e magazines continue to inhabit a drawer. That’s after I’ve spent considerab­le time downsizing the collection, selling some books off to various used bookstores, donating others and even resorting to putting some tattered old paperbacks and outdated booklets in the recycling bin.

Used bookstores are a venerable institutio­n, springing back into popularity as the COVID pandemic wanes, and I’m one of millions who make a habit of buying and selling used books. Many libraries are also a place to donate used books.

One fairly recent option for reusing and recycling used books is the trend for the Little Free Library, more and more often being found in someone’s front yard, or in a public space. During the pandemic lockdown, when shops and libraries were closed, I sometimes left donations at ones in Carson and Anaheim. To me, the little boxes filled with free used books often resemble large birdhouses, but with a door for books instead of a hole for a bird. Churchgoer­s may be reminded of a church’s tithing box. The first ones were strictly DIY projects, more recently, kits to assemble your own Little Free Library have come on the market. Some get quite elaborate, even resembling doll houses or miniature schoolhous­es.

“Take a book, share a book” is the idea behind these book exchanges, but you don’t have to leave a book to take one, and you can take as many as you like. The first one appeared in Wisconsin in 2009, and grew into a global nonprofit organizati­on with its own website, where persons interested in starting their own Little Free Library are requested to only use the name if registered as a “charter” on the site.

The website includes a map of locations, and I count about three dozen in the Los Angeles Harbor communitie­s, including San Pedro, Wilmington, Carson, Harbor City, and Palos Verdes. I count roughly another three dozen in the Long Beach area. Community groups, schools, and even brick-and-mortar libraries are getting in on the act. In Carson, there’s a Little Free Library at 22328 S. Main St., another at 23501 Maribel Ave., and another at the local sheriff’s station.

Details: www.littlefree­library.org

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States