Jean Chapman Snow, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, reported about a new phenomenon in her neighborhood, a free library with a sign reading, “Little Free Library, Charter 4775.” In smaller letters, it read, “Take a book. Return a book.”
As you may deduce from the charter number, there are many such libraries around the country. Started by Todd Bol in Wisconsin in 2009, these doll-house sized structures are in residential neighborhoods in forty-five states and at least five other countries. Most are wooden sided, with a front that's open, or a glass door to keep out rain. With two shelves inside, they might hold between twenty and thirty books. And, of course, it has a website (littlefreelibrary.org.)
In 2001, a similar book-sharing idea (bookcrossing.com) was launched and is now in 132 countries with 10 million books. The system is different, however. You register a book, get a tracking number and then leave it in a public place. Whoever finds the book is invited to use the tracking number and website to show where it is, then set it free again.
As a lover of books and libraries, this appeals to me, and so, since I can’t build my own library-house, I might try Book Crossing. Although I have a perfectly good library where I live, and many in nearby cities, this is another way of sharing the books you’ve read but no longer want to keep. My own living room bookshelves are filled to overflowing, and I still buy more.
The only thing I seem to have more of is a bunch of stories in my head that I want to put down on paper. Like all other authorrs, I assume, I decided to become a writer because I loved to read. Libraries, whatever form they take, are often the places we indulged our fantasies, beginning as young as six. At several times that age now, I still love books and libraries and always will.