Libraries are great places where knowledge is stored and shared with communities. In the past few years the concept of library has been expanded. We now have free little libraries all over most of our cities. People build them and put them up in their yard. I know of at least three right here in Garland. Typically, they look like the photo above. However, the one we have at the Garland Community Garden is unique. It was donated by the folks in the nearby Flamingo neighborhood. It was crafted from a metal box that once dispensed newspapers. The concept is a 24/7 library right in your neighborhood where you can come and get books and also leave books that you have enjoyed. One of the principles of the Little Free Library is that by providing greater, more equitable book access in neighborhoods worldwide, we can strengthen communities and influence literacy outcomes. Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minnesota.Their mission is to be a catalyst for building community, inspiring readers, and expanding book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led Little Free Libraries. There are over 150,000 little free libraries all over the world.
BOOKS ARE GOOD TO SHARE AND HERE ARE THREE LITTLE FREE LIBRARIES THAT SHARE OTHER THINGS:
1. SEED LIBRARY
Audrey Barbakoff and other members of her community wanted a place for people to share and donate vegetable, flower and herb seeds. Barbakoff who works as a librarian on Bainbridge Island, Washington, thought that the public library was the perfect place to house a seed library. In 2014 the group and the library staff teamed up to build a seed shed right behind the Bainbridge Branch Library. Residents bring their seeds to the library and the staff organize, label and store them in the shed where people are free to take what they need. According to Audrey, the seed library is sustainable in all ways because it encourages people to grow locally and connect with what they eat. It's socially sustainable because people are coming together to pool resources. Borrowing something is also economically sustainable.
2. LITTLE FREE FOOD PANTRIES
Darla Bradish, a property manager in Bremerton, Washington heard about the Little Free Library movement and imagined a similar concept, but with food. It's hard for some seniors to get to food banks so why not make food available in neighborhoods she thought. She got her program, 'Kitsap Neighborhood Little Free Pantries" by her county public health department She then created a Go Fund Me account and a Facebook page to solicit donations and volunteers. The success of her project led to the local corrections department offering to build her more pantry boxes.
3. TOOL LIBRARIES
Liz Matthews loves taking on do it yourself home improvement projects but doesn't like buying tools and only using them once. She turned to her neighbors and decided that everyone could save a lot of time and money if they shared tools. She created a Facebook group where 400 of her neighbors exchange tools such as drills, weed whackers, pressure washers and more. "Not only have I found every tool I've ever needed, but I've also been able to share with others and meet some new lifelong friends," she says. "It encourages safety and pride in our 'hood, and that's what this is really all about."
I think I will build a seed library for the Garland Community Garden this fall.