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Little Free Libraries
Shannon Hogan Cohen | Luneta Drive

Little Free Library on La Amatista.
Photo Shannon Hogan Cohen.
Click on image to enlarge.

“Take a book, leave a book.” This is the phrase that is often seen on small, wooden birdhouse structures on poles that have been sprouting up across America. These colorful cabinets, filled with books of all genres, have reached every U.S. state and Canadian province plus seventy other countries around the world.

The program is called Little Free Library and it started in Wisconsin seven years ago. Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard. His neighbors and friends adored it. Todd built several more for friends and family and each had a sign that said FREE BOOKS.

Here in Del Mar we have three of these micro-libraries: one located on La Amatista, another at Del Mar Woods on Stratford Court, and a third on Mira Montana near Del Mar Hills. The miniature cabinets are stocked with books for anyone to take or leave, with no rules for return. This program is not designed to replace or challenge the Del Mar Library and its resources. The Little Free Libraries function as a complimentary neighborhood book exchange, and they are a wonderful way to promote not only literacy in our community, but friendliness as well. These little libraries can be a fun yet unique way to inspire community participation and a great opportunity to talk fiction (or nonfiction) with your neighbors.

Little Free Libraries may be purchased already assembled from the organization’s website, or can be handcrafted to reflect the personality of the owner. For example, the little library on La Amatista was custom built by Robin Khoury’s father, to resemble the Del Mar Library. Robin and her children experience excitement every time a new book is left or taken. Robin learned about these micro-libraries from Kate Zimmer, the Little Free Library steward on Stratford Court who themes her book inventory according to the time of year.

I have been inspired by Robin and Kate and what the Little Free Library movement represents. Look for a birdhouse-like structure filled with both trendy and timeworn books popping up soon on Luneta Drive.

To learn more about the Little Free Library visit their website at www.littlefreelibrary.org.



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