Updated 09/25/2012 10:57 PM
Little Free Libraries grow in popularity
An idea to share books with the community has spread from Wisconsin to New York. Little Free Libraries are appearing in communities around the world. These mini book cases and in some instances, recycled phone booths, may soon be in a community near you. Our Iris St. Meran spoke with the co-founder and others about their movement to promote reading.
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ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- This addition to Regina Clinton's yard has strangers and neighbors stop as they travel by her Jamesville home.
Clinton said, “People maybe didn't know what it was and that made them come and look at it. We had it posted on a community sign that it was open."
It is a "Little Free Library." It is exactly that, anyone is welcomed at no cost to take a book, sit down and read it if they'd like or even add books to the collection.
Bruce Berlin brings his young niece by to get a book and even a few for himself.
"It's really kind of a great idea," said Berlin.
The idea began three years ago, more than 800 miles away in Wisconsin, as a way to promote reading and has since grown into something bigger: One little free library at a time.
Little Free Library co-founder Rick Brooks said, “People say, ‘I met more people in the past three weeks, than I have met in 25 years because of a little library where they share their favorite books.’”
Brooks just happened to be in town in Syracuse Tuesday and says there are 5,000 of these worldwide and counting. Three of them are in Syracuse, built by students and faculty from Syracuse University.
Syracuse University Library and Information Science Program Director Jill Hurst-Wahl said, "We worked with the Near West Side Initiative to pick the locations and also with the students. The students went out around the neighborhood, looked to see the environments they'd thought they'd work in. We talked to community members to see what they thought."
If you want to make your own little free library it's easy to do. You can get the case from the organization or you can make your own. This one used to be an old pay phone.
There’s no right or wrong way to do this. They only requirement is a love of books and reading and a desire to share that with others.
"We can learn a lot from books, but we can also share a part of ourselves through the books. People like giving almost more than taking,” Brooks added, “That's the really gratifying part of it."
To learn how to start your own Little Free Library, or to find one near you, visit