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Posts Tagged ‘Little Free Library’

Photo: Star Tribune
Police officers working to build a free-standing Little Free Library in Minneapolis as part of an initiative to encourage reading.

According to Libor Jany at the Star Tribune, some Minneapolis police officers are starting to engage with communities in a new way.

“In a partnership with Little Free Library, the department will turn a pair of its police cruisers into bookmobiles with the hope of teaching the importance of reading.

“Community policing officers will carry books while they are making their rounds on the city’s North and South sides. They’ll still respond to certain emergencies, but won’t be dispatched to calls for help, freeing them up to visit neighborhoods without libraries and give away books to anyone who wants them.

“The program is the first of its kind in the country, organizers say. …

“From a distance, the [Little Free Library] boxes could be mistaken for a birdhouse or an oversized mailbox. An unfinished dollhouse, even. But when they’re finished, officials say they’ll be stocked with dozens of all kinds books. People are encouraged to take a book or leave a book, without fear of overdue fines. …

“Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said in a statement that he was thrilled by the exercise in community building, ‘an incredible way to empower our youth and reach them in a positive way.’ …

“Little Free Library Executive Director Todd Bol started the book exchange in his hometown of Hudson, Wis., in 2009, building the first mini-library out of an old garage door in honor of his late mother. Today, there are more than 60,000 libraries in all 50 states and more than 80 countries around the world. In recent years, the little book boxes have sprung up in far-flung places like Australia and Qatar. …

“For now, available titles to be given away range from children’s books like ‘Camp Wildhog’ and ‘The Box Car Children: The Yellow House Mystery’ to more adult fare, including a well-thumbed unauthorized biography of Martha Stewart.” More.

Trust those Minnesotans to take a great concept a step farther!

A couple of my other posts on Little Free Libraries may be found here and here.

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Photo: Jason Koxvold

Question: What is halfway between the book-sharing Little Free Libraries that are sweeping the country and your town library? Answer: A personal library set apart from your home in a tiny house.

The Today show interviewed an artist whose friends helped him build one, perhaps also securing themselves a place to stay as a guest.

Christina Poletto reports, “In New York’s Ulster County, at the base of the Catskills Mountains, Jason Koxvold’s woodland home has a new addition to the property that is nothing short of stunning. There, tucked among the property’s forest of oak trees, sits a tiny one-room library which holds 2,500 books.

“Koxvold, a British artist based in New York, owns the property and was inspired to carve out a space specifically for solitude and escape. ‘I work from this location and was looking to make a quiet space for writing and reflection,’ Koxvold told TODAY.

“When there’s an overflow of visiting guests, the forest library also serves as an additional bedroom. …

“Koxvold desired a simple, singular structure that he could construct on his own using red oak from the property.

“Using already-felled trees left over from the construction of the main house, cut trees were planed on site into large log sections measuring 8 x 8 feet. After air drying the 12,000 lbs of milled red oak for several seasons, they became the shelving and cubbies that make up the the library’s interior.

“Koxvold was able to complete this structure with the help of eight different friends over the course of a year.

“While the monolithic shape and black exterior is shocking against the natural forest forms, the interior, heated by a single small wood stove, is as warm as it is cozy. A lone picture window looking into the forest is a source of natural light. …

“If you’re lucky enough to be invited as a guest, you’re welcome to leave a private message in one of the books on the shelves.” More.

Nice idea about leaving notes. In Suzanne and Erik’s Harlem apartment, an entire wall was available for written messages. Guests loved it.

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This healthy sunflower is at the Old Manse in Concord. The Trustees of Reservations always plant a big garden there, with pumpkins growing between the corn rows.

The lantern-like seed pods in the next photo embellish a tree beside the Providence River. The leaf shadows on brick were spotted not far away, along a grubby Providence sidewalk.

Can you read the plaque on the Providence Journal building? It shows the crazy height that the water reached in the infamous Hurricane of ’38. Golly!

My husband says the barrier at Fox Point will prevent flooding like that from ever happening again. I don’t know. Were the engineers aware of global warming when they started construction in 1960?

New Shoreham (in the next picture) was also battered in the hurricane of ’38. In fact, the storm wiped out the island economy on land and sea. The fishermen and farmers were not insured against such a catastrophe. No wonder people there remember that hurricane!

One thing that is different since 1938, as I learned in a splendid book called A Wind to Shake the World, communities in the path of a hurricane now get plenty of warning. But in 1938, when houses on Long Island, New York, were washing out to sea, no one up north knew it.

A few other shots of New Shoreham: a Wednesday farmers market, the Little Free Library, a view through a stone wall, a rumpled morning sky, and the North Light.

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I have blogged before about the Little Free Library movement (for example, here), and I have sometimes wondered if everyone uses the libraries as intended, taking a book and returning it or contributing another.

Today John sent this link from BookRiot.com. A woman who sponsors a Little Free Library, Swapna Krishna, is stamping all her books with a message that folks should play by the rules.

She writes, “One thing I started doing a month ago (and I’m very glad of now) is that I ordered a custom stamp for my library and started stamping the books I put out. It doesn’t require that the person return the book (and honestly, I don’t care whether they do or not), but it does tell a used bookstore or library that they really shouldn’t be buying that book or accepting it for donation. And I hope that if something like this happens, they’ll make their way back to me eventually.

“I purchased the stamp off Etsy from TailorMadeStamps. They were easy to work with and did a pretty awesome job in not much time!” The stamp is below, with her address blotted out for the Internet.

I love the idea of TailorMadeStamps and can think of a number of stamp messages that might come in handy. How about this variation on an old friend’s rejection to rejection slips: “Thank you for your recent scam letter about reducing my debts. I’m obliged to inform you that it does not meet my needs at the current time. However, I have forwarded it the attorney general, who may have a use for it.”

On second thought, that might be a little too long for a stamp — and expensive. How about “Just returning your unsolicited credit card account offer in this unstamped envelope”?

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My winter resolution will have to be to find more photo ops when the world isn’t blooming. I’ll have to look harder for interesting shadows and shapes in a black & white world. In the meantime, I sure am enjoying summer picture taking.

The first photo is of a Little Free Library in the Greenway. (Check out the concept here.) Then there’s the Bookshop window. Can you read the funny signs? They say, “I don’t remember the title … but the cover was blue.”

Next is the herb garden behind the church and Doug Baker’s bonsai trees. He once gave a very young Suzanne and her friend Joanna little bonsai trees, admonishing them that the trees had to be as carefully tended as babies. (Alas, the girls were too young to tend babies.)

After the planter with the escaping petunias come flowering weeds and hydrangeas on my street.

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A Little Free Library has come to Cambridge.

Writes Jan Gardner at the Sunday Globe, “About a block from the Cambridge Public Library, its Lilliputian cousin is perched atop a post on the sidewalk. At this Little Free Library, open since mid-October, there are no due dates, late fees, or library cards. Made out of recycled wood, it consists of a single shelf that holds about 20 books.

“The library’s founders are Laura Roberts and Ed Belove who put it in front of their house at 1715 Cambridge St. so they can keep an eye on it. …

“Sabrina Françon, a student at the nearby Harvard Graduate School of Design, sees the Little Free Library as an example of tactical urbanism, a trend she is studying. She wants to determine whether small playful citizen projects like the Little Free Library influence a neighborhood’s social capital.” Roberts reports to Françon what she sees from the window.

“The little library had its origins on Facebook. A friend of Roberts posted a message about Little Free Library, a nonprofit that started in Wisconsin three years ago. Founder Todd Bol built the first library in tribute to his late mother, a book lover.”

More from the Globe. You may also want to read my earlier post on the concept here. By the way, have you ever noticed that the Globe posts weekday articles fast, but Sunday Globe articles like this one may wait until Tuesday.

Photograph: Laura Roberts

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