Recently in Washington, DC I stumbled upon a small shelf of books up for borrow. It was part of a project aptly titled Little Free Library, and its goal is to supply people all over with these tiny and spontaneous literary outlets.
One of the most exciting parts of Little Free Library is that anyone can register to build one and join this community. The idea is that someone could pick up a book at your little library, and drop it off at another one when they finish, a sort of pollination of libraries, if you will. I am constantly lending people books that I think they’d love, which usually turns into gifting them the books. I think of this as the opportunity for a perpetual book exchange, aka the crown jewel that any community needs. There’s also a handy map : where you can track the nearest Little Free Library to you and register your own once you build it. Essentially, this is super easy and fun and exciting and I cannot think of a singly excuse to not check it out. You can become your own version of Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, but with books! And you will actually exist!
So how do I become the literary Santa Claus, you ask?
Well, if you look on the website, you will see that you can purchase pre-made Little Libraries for…well, for more than the average starving artist can spend, that’s for sure. But fret not, you can also BUILD your own and register them- cost efficient, fun, and rewarding. (And if you’re scrambling for Valentine’s plans, building a bookcase is super romantic or something, right?)
Regardless, I was super excited to find out that these exist and would love to see more of them in my communities. Imagine finishing a book mid-travel, dropping it off at the closest Little Library and picking up another to finish the trip. A system of book sharing around the country (or world) might sound fantastic, but in a time where we could all use a little more love and community, it might not be crazy to try.
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Tallie Gabriel is an actor, writer, and BookHive social media maven. She’s a member of InViolet Theatre and Artistic Assistant of BEDLAM Theatre in NYC.