Saturday, May 21, 2016

Civic Systems: Little Free Libraries

Ellie and Emma led us on a charming pedestrian tour of Emma's neighborhood in Ypsilanti, where no fewer than three neighbors have constructed Little Free Libraries. The girls explained that an LFL is a small, raised cabinet, usually with two shelves filled with books. Anyone who walks by can take or leave a book--or both. Most LFL creators are private homeowners who set them out on a front lawn, though others, like the Ann Arbor YMCA, may set them out on street corners or in public spaces.

The girls shared a lengthy interview with one of the LFL owners and brought a stack of books with them for us to exchange as we saw fit. (I made exchanges at two of the three libraries and ended up with a hardcover copy of Jared Diamond's outstanding Guns, Germs & Steel.)
As civic systems go, Little Free Libraries are a splendid example of an informal, grass-roots system, with no overseeing body--a sort of crowdsourcing.

Summers-Knoll hopes to set out a Little Free Library of its own in the 2016-17 academic year.

Here are a couple of worthwhile links:

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