Little Free Libraries

If you’re like me, you’ve got a book or seven around the house you’ve read but don’t want to save – that airport murder mystery or the pop science you never picked up again. (I didn’t put in the 10,000 hours on “Outliers.”)

Instead of dumping them, see if there’s a birdhouse in your neighborhood that isn’t really a birdhouse. If it’s got a big picture window on hinges, it’s actually a Little Free Library. You take a book, read it, bring it back. If you maybe bring back one more Bourne than you borrowed, go for it. Little Free Libraries is a non-profit that relies on the honor system, so you know not every novel is coming back.

About 50,000 Little Free Libraries have sprouted globally. I spotted my first Orlando-based LFL across from the T.J. Maxx in SoDo. The I’m-gonna-guess-homeless guy who hit the box right after me scored “The Hobbit.”

The Lancaster Park neighborhood actually has three Little Free Libraries and their own Facebook page.

Why free books in a neighborhood of $800,000 homes? Blankner K-8 and Boone High School are close by – and according to the U.S. Department of Education, as many as 61% of low-income families don’t have any kids’ books at home. If kids can walk over and grab a book between school and home, great.

Some Little Free Libraries are inside hospitals or homeless shelters, but from Kissimmee to Daytona Beach, they’re there. This map is the easiest way to find them. Every month, I scout thrift stores for castoff CDs and paintings and also pick up a book or two for the next Little Free Library I see.