Oct 012014

Little Free Library

Sharing of love of literature with one’s community – a Little Free Library tour in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Have you heard about Little Free Libraries? They are a way for neighbours to share their favourite literature and stories. The idea is “take a book, leave a book”. In its simplest form, a Little Free Library is a weather-proof box of books set out for anyone to stop by, pick up a book (or two), and leave a book to share. Many are more elaborate than a simple box and cheerfully decorated.

There are at least 29 Little Free Libraries in my home city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Thanks to a tour offered by the “big library”, Winnipeg Public Library, I discovered a few of them.

trolley bus

The trolley bus for the tour

Little Free Libraries 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 schoolteacher who loved to read. He filled it with books and set in on a post in his front yard with a sign that said FREE BOOKS

Local 772 little free library

This library on Warsaw Avenue is set atop a stump of old tree.
Books inside include two story booklets created by young girls down the street.

The Little Free Library organization website has information on how to create your own Little Free Library. At least one person should be designated as “steward” to make sure the library is stocked, clean, and inviting. You should check local zoning laws before putting it up. Although you want it accessible, placement should take into consideration things that may cover or damage it, such as snowplows.

little free library in garden

The stewards of this library in a front garden on McNaughton Avenue shovel a path to the library in winter.


Dr Seuss themed little free library

This Dr. Seuss themed library at Robert H/. Smith School contains only children’s books.


Little Red Art Gallery

The Little Red Art Gallery was set up on the Assiniboine River last winter as a warming hut and a Little Free Library. It was relocated to Avonherst Street for the summer with a focus on promoting contemporary art. During the month of September, Martha Street Studio placed a poster print a day in the gallery as part of the Steal This Poster project,

elm tree library

This library on Spence Street, called Pulp Fiction, is made from an elm tree.
Elm trees once lined the streets in this area of the city, but disease has resulted in the removal of many trees.

People who have set up Little Free Libraries report meeting and talking with neighbours they’d not met or conversed with much to that point. The Little Free Library website contains information on locations of Little Free Libraries across the world. These are libraries which have registered with the site. There are many other Little Free Libraries which have not been registered, so keep your eyes open. Stewards of Little Free Libraries are often aware of other locations within their cities. 

Do you have a Little Free Library near you?

  7 Responses to “Little Free Libraries”

  1. Donna, I was taking photos last summer of all the little free libraries to do the same thing. They are so cute, aren’t they? I was surprised at the diversity of neighborhoods I found some in…surprising!

  2. Gosh. I LOVE these images. This brings back so many memories. My mother was a librarian. When I was very young, she used to talk about and go to many of these min libraries. As a kid, I loved it, still do. 🙂

  3. We have three in Catonsville, Md. , (that I know of). A lovely idea. Thanks for sharing yours.

  4. Just discovered one on Lipton while heading to the Nearly New on Portage! Fun discovery that had me start a pinterest board to both enjoy and inspire my own creation of a new LFL … thanks for posting!

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