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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Summer reading; Little Free Libraries

I have a friend who is fixated with the little free libraries that you may have seen around the village. There are only four of them, this one shown here is in the South Grove, but now his, and I guess my objective, is to have more added. Places like Lake Worth have as many as 80 around their town! It started small and grew from there.

According to former Grovite AnnaMaria Windisch-Hunt, now a Lake Worth resident, Palm Beach County has a REAP program (Resident Education to Action Program) that funds the boxes now through grants. The libraries started off with three, where AnnaMaria had a couple of sailors build the boxes. 
 "The three were hand built with re purposed items and dumpster diving. One looks like the replica of the owner's home. The other was done from a hope chest and mine incorporated [AnnaMaria's late husband] Fred Hunt’s dresser," she says.

She went on, "We ask all the talented artists in the community to paint one and they all come out.  Now we have someone local who is able to build them.  The only ones what required variance were in public right of ways. i.e Forestation, the ones by City Hall.  Everyone is on board.  In fact the Library used to divest of books via selling or trashing  if they were in good condition they would now be kept and picked up by the Library Steward." It’s so popular that she can no longer get books at the library but now they are looking to publishers for donations. 

She has a story about the library boxes in her Lake Worth Every Minute blog


These Little Free Libraries or "book boxes," as they are called are loved by the neighbors. I won't give out the Grove locations because they seem to be a private sort of thing - you know, for the neighbors in a particular area or street. There is one public one at LoKal, the burger place on Commodore Plaza, they call it the "bootleggers library." That's Adrian from Lokal, he enjoys the library and has some great suggestions. Ask him about his favorite books when you stop by.


The advantage of these little libraries is that neighbors meet neighbors through them and in a way, they are sharing more than just neighborly visits. Books are being shared that were read by neighbors who are now sharing the books with fellow neighbors. It would be interesting to see what books are being shared in which neighborhoods.

A nice project would be to have a bunch of the libraries sponsored and then maybe painted by artists, like we did with the peacocks a few years back. In this digital age, its nice to hold paper and ink in hand, have the smell and feel of an actual book and enjoy sharing it.


Hopefully it will catch on. In Lake Worth, the Palm Beach County School District collaborates with residents. It's a perfect  thing for a small village like Coconut Grove.

There are more than 50,000 book boxes around the world in 70 countries; they are in all 50 US states. 

This is an excellent idea to share the books you already read and loved.

Related posts:

Little Free Library


Plans and tips for library builders

Set of plans 

The Danger of Being Neighborly Without a Permit

The Low-tech appeal of Little Free Libraries 

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8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For $11 $13 a shake you better get a free book

July 20, 2017 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cruising sailors have shared books for years. Most marinas have a book shelf for this purpose. Pick up a book, leave a book.

July 20, 2017 12:02 PM  
Blogger SaMm&TizZy said...

It would be also great to incorporate the "take what you need; leave what you can" boxes. In other tight nit communities they have them where u leave any non perishable food items, toiletries, ect. Ect. Could even be with, the book boxes. It's been shown to be a huge success. Considering the amount of families fed by the Local food pantries, I'm very well certian it will be a huge success with the community & is needed here in the grove.

Samantha ;)

July 20, 2017 11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is indeed a great idea for neighborhoods to motivate more kids to read and for residents to meet more of their neighbors. The boxes may be purchased and attached to a fence or upon a post. Or they may be fabricated as a DYS project. A little artistry can make them most unique. Would be wonderful if one of our local schools championed them as a fundraising project. Could also be useful to the Grove Woman's Club, CGVC or Barnacle. Or perhaps Shell Lumber could set up a build your own in the lumber yard. The more the merrier!

July 21, 2017 2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started the ones in Lake Worth by contacting 2 sailors to help build them. The 3 were hand built with
repurposed items and dumpster diving. One looks like the replica of the owners home. The other was done from a hope chest and mine incorporated Fred Hunt’s dresser. The Palm Beach County here has a yearly REAP grant (resident education to Action Program.
http://discover.pbcgov.org/ocr/Pages/REAP-Program.aspx and a lot of the ones we have now were supported from this grant. We ask all the talented artists in the community to paint one and they all come out. Now we have someone
local who is able to build them.
The only ones what required variance were in public right of ways. i.e Forestation, the ones by City Hall .
Everyone is on board. In fact the Library used to divest of books via selling or trashing if they were in good condition they would now be
kept and picked up by the Library Steward (i.e. those carrying for them on their property). It’s so popular that I can no longer get books at the library but now we are looking to publishers for donations.
Happy to help. The story is posted on my blog about my Little Free Library https://artdazzlelakeworth.com/2017/05/25/red-nose-red-letter-day/

July 22, 2017 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh sure, a grant usually means at taxpayer expense or someone gets a tax credit or write-off to make it. And other useless people get to puff around self importantly basking in their virtue. This is a dumb BS program and no one wants these stupid boxes around let alone during a hurricane when they can become missiles.

July 24, 2017 1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 1:31 PM
It must be wonderfully gratifying to be so assured that you are right and that those that have chosen to participate with the 50,000 book boxes around the world in 70 countries, in all 50 US states and the 4 Grovites that so far are wrong. You claim they are "useless people get to puff around self importantly basking in their virtue". The majority of the participants are just trying to be good neighbors and share their enjoyment for literature with the neighbors and their kids. Some funds have been raised to install boxes in lower income communities to help raise their literacy rates. But the majority of the installations are completely provided by property owner at their expense. They had the option to purchase an unfished box online from $180-$300 and their own personal touch. But many prefer a DYS project to involve their kids with its construction, customizing, painting and installation. Even locals schools at getting involved and using the project as a community outreach effort and fundraiser. This is a very worthy endeavor and should be applauded and celebrated as the noble act that it is. Please take time to meet some of the folks that have installed boxes in your neighborhood and discover how much joy they have shared. It might rub off on you!

July 25, 2017 7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE ATLANTIC
The Low-Tech Appeal of
Little Free Libraries

The "take a book, return a book" boxes are catching in even on places where Kindles and brick-and-mortar books abound.

“What happens is, you start the momentum, and then the community—the Lions Club, the Rotary, the churches, the neighbors—steps up and builds more. It just keeps going,” Bol says.
Individual stewards are using their Little Free Libraries in altruistic ways, too. Tina Sipula of Clare House, a food pantry in Bloomington, Illinois, does more than distribute groceries; she distributes books via an on-site Little Free Library. As she points out, homeless people don’t have addresses—which means they can’t get public library cards. Linda Prout was instrumental in bringing dozens of Little Free Libraries to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and Lisa Heydlauff of Bihar, India, is working to bring a thousand Little Free Libraries to girls’ schools in her country, filling them with books that teach business and entrepreneurial skills.

“Little Free Libraries create neighborhood heroes,” says Bol. “That’s a big part of why it’s succeeding.”

Though they owe their spread largely to the Internet, Little Free Libraries often serve as an antidote to a world of Kindle downloads and data-driven algorithms. The little wooden boxes are refreshingly physical—and human When you open the door, serendipity (and your neighbors’ taste) dictates what you’ll find. The selection of 20 or so books could contain a Russian novel, a motorcycle repair manual, a Scandinavian cookbook, or a field guide to birds.

July 25, 2017 9:21 PM  

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