What are Little Free Libraries?
You’ve might’ve seen one around town, your school, or your neighborhood. It’s called a little free library, and it’s exactly that: a place where you can check out a book for free.
Started 10 years ago in Wisconsin, the libraries have spread throughout the world, with over 80,000 locations. Anyone can put one up, to encourage reading and community connectedness.
Hugh Flanders says he and his wife were the first with a Little Free Library in Naperville, outside of their home on Jefferson Avenue.
“My wife sandy and I are both retired teachers, so when retired eight years ago that was one of our first project was to build one of these and its been very successful,” said Flanders. “We’ve gone to having half children half adult book and magazines.”
Why do people have a Little Free Library?
The free books are great for people who are underprivileged or may not have access to public libraries.
And the libraries aren’t just run by homeowners. Public spaces like Naper Settlement and churches have them too.
“It just pays it forward for people that might not be able to get new books all the time,” said Jenny Hubbard, the director of children and family ministries at Knox Presbyterian Church. “It’s a great opportunity for parents, grand parents, and children to look for book and read them together.”
“It’s a very exciting thing to do, it doesn’t take nearly any energy at all and you still get the satisfaction sharing that great love of reading,” said Lori Jones, the owner of the Little Free Library on Bainbridge Road.
What do people say about the free libraries?
“We’ve noticed people stopping in all the time on their way to and from school, people walking, or in the summer kids ride up in their bikes and hang out for a while. It’s really quite fun,” said Jones.
Each little free library is uniquely themed but has the same directive.
“The essence of the Little Free Library is too borrow a book and to leave a book,” said Jones. “It’s a free book exchange they belong to everyone and everyone can use it.”
With over 20 Little Free Libraries around Naperville a good read is never too far away.
Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.
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