By Hannah Bennett
Today’s digital world revolves around sharing. We have gotten hooked on passing along our favorite photos, status updates, videos, and memes. It should be no surprise, then, that the book community has found some innovative new ways to share books as well. Around the city, the country, and even the globe, tiny communal libraries are popping up in unexpected places. Those who built them have done so out of the desire to share the books they love with their communities.
In New York City, this phenomenon has blended book lending and urban betterment in a surprising way. Architect John Locke created ‘phone booth libraries,’ which repurpose old, run-down phone booths into pop-up libraries. Visitors to the phone booth libraries can take, give, or exchange books as they like.
A few states away, in Hudson, Wisconsin, Todd Bol created his own pop-up library. He built a waterproof box, filled it with books, and called it the “Free Book Exchange.” He put the little library outside of his house for his community to use, but soon word spread, and book lovers from all over began to reach out to him. According to The Daily Nightly, “Today there are Little Free Libraries in at least 28 states and six countries including Ghana, Australia and Afghanistan. And people from more than a dozen other countries have expressed interest.”
Each little library that has sprung up is unique – made from whatever was on hand. And around each little library, a community has grown. With no fines, fees, or due dates, the pop-up libraries have one goal: to encourage reading and the sharing of books with anyone and everyone.