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The Little Free Library in Tacoma

Bringing neighbors together through books

A Little Free Library in Tacoma Photo credit: Rachael Bouma

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These days, the concept of a library has reached new heights and there is a phenomenon that is sweeping the nation, one neighborhood at a time.

The Little Free Library brings the love of reading, literacy, sustainability and community building with a simple concept: build it and they will come.

The Little Free Library organization has crafted a community and neighborhood project that's easy and fun. It works like this. Neighborhood groups elect a "steward" to oversee the project, the library maintenance and progress. The group then crafts a small, easily accessible and weatherproof structure that can house essentially a "shelf" of books. The structure is posted in an agreed upon and eligible neighborhood location. Neighbors can "donate" books they are done reading into the library's "depository." Neighbors are then free to take another book to enjoy. Some neighborhoods seek community sponsors to supply the donated books. Others groups have elected to create a "memorial library" to honor a community member who has passed away.

There's even more neighborhoods can do with their libraries, too. According to The Little Free Library website, the library can be used for even more creative purposes such as neighborhood communications, games and contests, and so much more.

Essentially, the library plan is wide-open and the sky's the limit on creativity.

And speaking of creativity, the little libraries themselves can really reflect the look and feel of the neighborhood where it resides. With a registration into the organization, The Little Free Library resource center provides kits of little architectural wonders that are available for purchase. For those who wish to craft a library of their own, building plans are available online. Whether a team wishes to do a neighborhood building party or elect a handy individual to take on the project, check out the The Little Free Library's building ideas webpage for inspiration.

The key elements of the project, regardless, are to work, learn, and have fun together. One local area family and their neighbors can certainly attest to this.

South Puget Sound resident Rachael Bouma has a Little Free Library in her North End Tacoma neighborhood. The project has really taken off and provides enjoyment to the whole community.

"Our family loves the spirit of the Little Free Library," says Bouma. "It promotes reading, community, and sharing, and we especially appreciate that it's free."

"In just a couple of weeks, our library has had many visitors and fantastic book turnover. We really enjoy reading the comments left in our library guest book. Knowing that someone has a new book to read makes us smile!"

For more information on how to launch a Little Free Library in your own neighborhood, gain important knowledge and get great tips on how to maintain your library, and to learn how your neighborhood library can participate in some fun national and international library activities, visit The Little Free Library website.

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