Growing Readers, Little by Little Free Library
|Dedicated to memory of Habitat volunteer, Tony Martin|
I love the Little Free Library, both in concept and application. What started in Wisconsin as a simple woodworking/book idea has blossomed into an international reading initiative. And really, it’s just a mini-lending library, on a stick.
It looks like an over-sized birdhouse, or maybe a child’s dollhouse. And it’s stocked with a variety of books, carefully chosen and freely provided. You’ll find these little libraries all over the country, in busy neighborhoods or at remote crossroads. It’s always open, always free-for-the-taking. Take a book, leave a book. Or don’t leave a book. That’s fine, too. Little Free Libraries have stewards who’ll check and make sure that things are running smoothly.
Of course, it’s way more than a lending library. It’s a literacy movement. The Little Free Libraries are growing readers from one end of the world to the other. So what about you, writer? Are you promoting literacy? Are you growing readers? Because we need to work on that literacy initiative ourselves.
Honestly, I don’t think there are too many writers that need that message. The fact is, writers are almost always voracious readers. We can’t help being enthusiastic about words and books and reading. Some (and I’m thinking of the mister here) might say we talk a little too much about words and books and reading.
You know what? I’ll keep at it. Because excitement about reading is contagious. That’s why I support my regular-sized library and my kids’ school libraries and literacy programs like First Book. That’s why I’m thrilled whenever I see another Little Free Library go up somewhere in my corner of the world—or any corner of the world! I know someone will walk by, maybe a mother with kids in tow, maybe a construction worker on his lunch break, maybe an elderly resident at an assisted living facility, and they’ll stop and say, “Wow. Free books.” They’ll open the door, scan the titles, and reach for a book that looks interesting.
It could be your book. It could be mine. But make it the best book possible, because we’re growing readers, word by word. And dang, y’all. That’s exciting!
~Cathy C. Hall