There’s a story that’s been floating around the publishing world and has even gained momentum with national news outlets. It’s the story of Spenser Collins, a nine-year-old who was forced by his community in Kansas to remove a Little Free Library from in front of his house as it was against the city of Leawood’s ordinance prohibiting free-standing structures in the front yards of residential areas.
Aside from the public outrage against this action (including ribs from Today Show anchors), this story has also brought Little Free Libraries into the spotlight. Little Free Libraries are birdhouse-like structures that instead of holding nests, contain a small treasure trove of books. People are encouraged to “Take a Book, Leave a Book.” And these little structures have been popping up everywhere and are increasingly gaining popularity.
The idea of Little Free Library was started in 2009 by Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin. Bol “built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard. His neighbors and friends loved it. He built several more and gave them away. Each one had a sign that said FREE BOOKS” (http://www.littlefreelibrary.org/ourhistory). From these humble beginnings occurred a movement that’s sweeping the country with people building and erecting their own little libraries (mostly on private land as to not have to go through the hassle of getting permissions to place on public land).
Together with Rick Brooks, Bols started the Little Free Library Organization. In 2011, there were 100 little free libraries registered with the organization. That number exploded to 4,000 in 2012, and then more than tripled by 2014. Today there are over 16,000 little free libraries in at least 72 countries—and those are just the ones registered with Little Free Library.
One of these libraries is located right here in Dahlonega, Georgia. It’s located just off the historic square in the Connor Memorial Garden. This small, well-built structure was donated to the Garden by Lumpkin County Retired Educators in 2012. It is registered with Little Free Library, charter number 0689.
For more information about Little Free Libraries, or to find one in your area, visit the organization’s website at http://www.littlefreelibrary.org.