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Saturday, October 15, 2016


Promote Literacy: Design a Little Free Library

The great thing about writers is that it isn’t hard to convince us that literacy is vital to human survival. Heck some of us have books on our shelves that get right to the point of survival including How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse and The Alien Invasion Handbook. What can I say? I share my shelves with men and boys. We have books to help us in our writing and we have books for reading. We writers are voracious readers, we give books as gifts and we are constantly encouraging others to read. One way to do this is by building a Little Free Library.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this concept, Little Free Libraries are tiny free-standing structures, a lot like newspaper sales boxes. Books are left inside and would-be readers are free to look through them, pick one out and read it. Later they can return the book they finished and take another. You can build one based on your own design but you can also buy a kit here and then register it with the organization. Yes – a whole organization of book lovers!

Obviously there are some challenges to constructing a teeny, tiny library and that’s why Chronicle Books and Little Free Library are pairing up to hold a contest. The contest challenges would be designers to address some of these would-be issues. What issues? They include but are not limited to:

  • How to weatherproof the library to keep the books safe.
  • Creating a design that compliments the community the library serves.
  • Ensuring that the books are highly visible.
  • Making the books accessible to super short patrons (children) as well as tall patrons (adults). Properly storing and displaying books that have unique shapes.

Each entry is eligible for three different prizes including one chosen by the Little Free Library community and another chosen by the panel of judges. My favorite, because of the possibilities it holds, will be chosen by the Chronicle Books team and may be produced “large scale.” Oh, excitement! Imagine copies of your library all over, encouraging readers and spreading the love of books.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in doing, visit the Chronicle Books web page on the contest for more information. It includes an e-mail addy for questions. Me? As usual I have almost too many ideas to pick just one.


To find out more about Sue Bradford Edwards writing, visit her blog, One Writer's Journey.
She also teaches our class, Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults.  The next session begins December 5, 2016.

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