Tiny Lending Libraries

The industrialist Andrew Carnegie used his vast fortune to build 2,509 libraries around the world. The people of Little Free Library would like to continue that philanthropic tradition and make it accessible for people without Carnegie's wealth. So they sell birdhouse-sized libraries that you can fill with books that people in your neighborhood can read.

Link -via Super Punch

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Yes, people do steal and vandalize things that "belong" to "other people." And yes, shelves of books in a washroom and hallway at an art center didn't work as well as hoped. As the Little Free Library movement grows, though, here's the lesson: people support that which they help create. I think that's why some of these strategies--and places--work better than others. Success at this seems to revolve around a combination of things that add up to more than just shelves of paperbacks. Good books...a hand-crafted container for the books, good signage, a location that invites people to buy into the idea and feel good about it, some sort of method for communicating the spirit and the positive nature of the Library...people (particularly children)who identify with it and want to protect and support it...all of these seem to help, vandals and disinterested folks notwithstanding. Have faith and share good books! Given the choice between light and darkness, choose the light. I guess that's what keeps us going.
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I tried to do a similar thing in the washroom of our Arts Centre - little shelves filled with Penguin60s andf a few other books. Sign said Tiny Library - tiny donations welcome.

Admin moved it out to a hallway, then the books vanished. A few people left money, and that vanished too. I was pretty disappointed in everyone.
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At roughly $1 a piece (at the Good-Will), that's almost a pack of smokes or a marijuana cigarette! If I put those outside my house they'd be gone instantaneously, otherwise I would very much like one.
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Wow, Krikkit, that was certainly upbeat and positive! While I don't doubt that in some areas of the country your thoughts ring true, I don't believe that the entire country is in such a disarray!

I think this would be especially beneficial in smaller towns where a regular library is not easily accessible. Additionally, why not offer this in areas where older people live that perhaps cannot get to library so easily. Country Inns & Suites, the hotel chain, has a similar program. They offer books in their lobby for their patrons to borrow and they can either return it to the hotel they took it from or just drop it off at another hotel in the chain. They've offered this program for many years and since it is still going there must be a benefit to it.
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Unfortunately we live in such a world that the people who can't read would set the thing on fire, or at least hit it with a baseball bat from a moving car as soon as it was erected.
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