During the past few years, quite a few people have swapped out reading traditional books in favor of e-books, and many likely can't remember the last time they went to a library. Little Free Library (LFL) is looking to change that while promoting sharing and community. If you love holding a book in your hands and being able to flip through the pages, the LFL project is one you'll want to experience firsthand, and New Yorkers can now do just that.
Little Free Library teamed up with the Architectural League of New York and the PEN World Voices Festival to establish 10 little libraries on the streets of NYC. They run on the concept of "take a book, leave a book." The small book shelters are placed in public spots where locals and tourists alike can browse, take a book, and leave one behind.
Little Free Library Beginnings
LFL started in Wisconsin in 2009 as a program with Wisconsin Partners for SustainAbility and was the brainchild of Rick Brooks and Todd Bol. Using his carpentry skills, Bol built some of the first little libraries. Since its start, LFL has spread across the United States and gone global, and they are now found in India, Ghana, Italy, Australia, and a variety of other locations. The organization has sponsored thousands of little libraries worldwide.
New York City Libraries
Different designers were chosen to create each New York City little library, so they all have their own special style and flair. One little library designed by Marcelo Ertorteguy and Sara Valente of Stereotank is located at St. Patrick's Old Cathedral School on Prince Street. It consists of a bright yellow upside-down plastic tank with wooden legs and round holes around the facade. This particular library differs from many others, as you can pop inside it from underneath, whereas most of the other libraries have doors in the front that you open to retrieve books.
Nine additional libraries are scattered around New York City, including one at La Mama on East Fourth Street, another at Cooper Union on East Seventh Street, and one at New York University at West Fourth and Mercer streets.
So where do all the books come from? They're donated by authors, publishers, used bookstores, and those around the community who want to spread the love of reading. There are books for children and adults on every topic imaginable -- from cooking to geography and everything in between. Each library holds 20-30 books at a time. To check them out for yourself, visit one of the 10 locations that will be around New York City until September. For more information on Little Free Libraries, visit their Facebook page and website.
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