Little Free Libraries - and why we have one
You may have heard of Little Free Libraries, but not yet come across an example. Well if you're in Horam, East Sussex you already have one!
A Little Free Library is a box full of books which people can take to read free of charge, and where they can donate books for others to enjoy. The concept began in the USA in 2009 when Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a replica of a schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former teacher. He filled it and put it on a post in his front garden with a sign that said FREE BOOKS.
His neighbours loved it and he was soon building more Little Free Libraries. There are now thousands worldwide.
How does a Little Free Library work?
Some Little Free Libraries are designed for adults, some are for children and some contain a mixture of books. But they all work the same way. Passers-by are free to take a book (or two) that they would like to read, keep it for as long as they like and return it to the Library when they have finished. If they love it so much that they want to pass it to someone they know instead: that's fine too.
We have had the children's Little Free Library outside our building in Horam since 2014. Our current Library is here for the children of Horam to enjoy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There’s no need for them to tell us which books they have taken or donated. We also love people to donate books they no longer need for other children to read. The scheme has had been really popular since we got the Library. It's particularly busy in the summer months when children are on holiday and looking for an interesting read. But it is visited all year round, and we keep the front of the shop lit so that it can be used even when the evenings draw in.
Why Just for Children?
Good question. It may well be time we had one for adults too. However we can't really combine the two because the Library is too... Little :) We hope the additional Library will complement the Horam Centre's book scheme where we can swap books every Monday morning between 10.30 and 12 noon. And the Vines Cross Telephone Box Book Exchange which carries a wide range of books both for adults and children. Unfortunately I couldn't find an article about our very own Telephone Box Book Exchange up the road in Vines Cross, but I did find this article about a similar Telephone Box Library in the Somerset village of Westbury-sub-Mendip which works along similar lines.
The Little Free Library Network
We are proud to be part of the Little Free Library UK network. The Little Free Library Project is a registered charity whose purposes include promoting reading, art and community engagement. Little Free Libraries aim to increase access to books by building and installing Libraries across the UK. If you fancy a Library outside your home and don't want to make one yourself, they offer Little Free Libraries for sale made from FSC and other sustainably sourced materials. They also work with a wide range of artists and designers.
To see some other amazing Little Free Libraries in the UK, please visit the Little Free Libraries Tumblr site.