google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html Little Libraries Make a Big Impact | The Armchair Genealogist

Little Libraries Make a Big Impact

A couple of weeks ago I was taking a walk through my neighbourhood when I spotted something new on my neighbours front lawn. Curious, I took a closer look, in fact the very nature of it invited me to come closer and look inside. It was a little library.

Coincidentally, a couple of days earlier I had just read an article about micro-libraries and how they were growing in popluarity, and in a blink of an eye one appeared in my neighbourhood. Also known as readcycling, I was surprised to learn that micro-libraries had arrived in the sleepy little town of Simcoe, Ontario.

When I read this article a few weeks back, I tweeted it because I really thought it was brilliant for a few reasons.

1. In this day when governments are cutting back on library funding, these little libraries demonstrate that communities are going to take matters into their own hands and that libraries are still a very important part of the community. We're sort of going backwards, because I can imagine this is how it all began.

2. This is a brilliant way to share your love of reading and your love of what ever kind of book you choose to read. What an awesome way for a family historian or genealogist to share their passion. It gives new meaning to 'taking it too the street.'

3. It promotes community. In this day of social circles focused mainly on the internet, providing a small library to your neighbourhood brings social back home.

If you want to learn more about little libraries and  how you can create your own head over to littlefreelibrary.org.


Their mission is to promote literary and the love of reading by promoting free book exchanges across the world. They want to build a sense of community and to build more than 2510 libraries across the world.

At littlefreelibrary.org you can purchase a ready made library from their website. A little pricey, however, you can also build your own. They provide the directions free of charge. Once you have assembled your library you can make a $25.00 donation to littlefreelibrary.org and they will place your library on their world map and send you one of their signs to hang on your library to help spread the word.

They have wonderful shining examples on their website of how others across the world have embraced this mission. Suggestions include a little library near a community garden where gardeners can donate horticultural books to swap. Of course the libraries work best where there is foot traffic, live by a play park, you can insert children’s books in your little library.

 If your genealogical society has a permanent residence you can establish one there. Fill it with genealogy books, a great way to encourage the pursuit of genealogy and find new members. Books are borrowed and returned on the honor system. Little Libraries reports that the communities have received them well and seldom do they hear of books being stolen or vandalism to the libraries themselves.

Jenna at Desperately Seeking Surnames tweeted back that she thought an old greenhouse might be another great vehicle to house a little library. In the article mentioned above, old phone booths have become quite popular, but it just shows you, we are only limited by our imaginations.

A wonderful example of a little idea gone big, this is a great project for the genealogical community to get behind.

Do you have a little library in your community? Do you have a suggestion of where a micro-library might find a home?  Be sure to leave your thoughts below so others can benefit and we can contribute to this fantastic mission.

2 comments:

  1. Such a wonderful idea! This is the first I have heard of it...thank you for sharing.

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  2. Maybe our institutions have gotten so massive that people are naturally responding this way. Very inventive and inspired! It's so refreshing to hear about this -- thank you. On the one hand, we have Google copying every book in the world for posterity. On the other hand, for local reading we have . . . little free libraries. You're right, it's a good place for (local and wider) genealogy and history.

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