The Do-It-Yourself Library-
Have you recently biked around Fort Collins and noticed what looks like extra-large birdhouses in people’s yards and wondered what they were? If you got close enough, you saw that these small structures are full of books, and that the books are all free. These mini-libraries are part of the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Library movement centered around the “take a book, leave a book” philosophy. With the help of the Little Free Library non-profit, the popularity of the DIY library is spreading throughout Fort Collins, across the United States, and the world as well.
Little Free Library is a non-profit whose origins can be traced back to 2009, when Hudson, WI resident Todd Bol built the first little library—a model of a one-room schoolhouse in tribute to his mother, a school teacher who loved to read. The response from the neighborhood was so positive, that soon Bol was building more for friends and neighbors, all with a “Free Books” signs on them. As enthusiasm and publicity increased, Bol joined up with fellow Hudson resident, Rick Brooks, and eventually turned the fast-growing Little Free Library business into an official non-profit corporation with a mission “to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.” Little Free Library now has over 15,000 registered libraries, many that are used for neighborhood books shares or in other instances, as the primary library in remote villages and schools where the library serves as the main resource for the students.
Little Free Library makes having your own library easy—anyone can hop on their website (littlefreelibrary.org) and choose from dozens of pre-built Little Free Library designs for their front yard (prices range from $192.99-$799.95). However, many people choose to build their own custom library, adding their own special touches like a reading bench, a community board or supplies to fix a flat bicycle tire (as shown in the Overland Trail Library picture below). With a Do-It-Yourself Library, the possibilities are endless, so start on yours today! And if you see one in your neighborhood, grab a book and head on over: as libraries have shown again and again—nothing creates community better than sharing books!
We would love to know if you have a Little Free Library in your neighborhood! Add the address in the comments section and we will come by and take a photo to add it to this post.