Bookish Things

Sharing My Experience as a Little Free Library Steward: It’s All Gravy

If you’re not already familiar with Little Free Libraries, they are those cute birdhouse-looking things you see cropping up all over town and your neighborhood.

Little Free Library actually started as an organization that aims to increase reader access to books in communities, including underserved areas. The idea is that anyone can donate and drop off books at these locations, and anyone can pick up a book to read. Most LFLs contain a wide mix of nonfiction, fiction and children’s literature…I’ve even seen people put magazines and movies in them!

Here is the Little Free Library I am a steward for; it is located in Hale Library at Kansas State University. So basically a library in a library!

I became a steward of a LFL on K-State’s campus in 2021 when I helped start a LFL location in my place of work. I work in an academic library and even though the building is full of books, there isn’t a lot of popular literature, or the books that most people out there are reading. I wanted to offer students and patrons the option to pick up, for free, popular books for fun reading whenever they visited.

In the two-ish years since the LFL has been around, it’s overwhelmingly been a positive experience for me. I love seeing people browse the shelf and take books home with them.

I’ve been in touch with other LFL stewards and unfortunately, not everybody has had such a positive experience. It’s become more commonplace, especially for LFLs in outdoor public spaces, to hear about people taking books from LFLs just to sell them for cash. Some people have tried to combat this by putting by pleaing signs or stamping the books.

Thankfully, our LFL has never been cleaned out and even if it was, I work with a ton of librarians: I’m never hurting for books.

Overall, I greatly enjoy being a steward for our LFL and it makes me happy to help others read more, even in a small way. Anybody can start a LFL or become a steward; if you’re interested in learning more, check out the Little Free Library website!

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