Have you seen this story about Little Free Libraries on KREM (video below)?
The basic idea behind it is this: A small, sheltered bookshelf — a bit like an oversized birdhouse — next to the sidewalk outside your home functions as a mini lending library. It’s filled with a tiny portion of the books you might otherwise take to, say, Booktraders on Garland. Passersby are free to borrow the books inside and, ideally, return them when finished. Or leave some books of their own in exchange.
From a practical standpoint, yes, it does open itself up to theft and vandalism. But these secondhand books wouldn’t be worth much to any book buyer, and besides, anything placed near any public right of way (e.g., flowers, planters, fences, mailboxes) is a potential vandalism target. It’s also worth considering that neighborhoods in disregard and disrepair tend to foster more vandalism than well-kept ones.
The fact that this has already been implemented in a few places in Spokane also shows that it’s neither impossible nor impractical.
Emerson-Garfield in particular has plenty of streets named after American presidents and local historical figures, but very little that commemorates our national and regional writers. We haven’t even had a neighborhood library branch since 1967. Wouldn’t it be great to fill this gap by making books — especially those by lesser-known Spokane writers like Vachel Lindsay and Bruce Holbert — available to everyone on a much more personal and grassroots level?
In other words, it’s worth considering the idea of little lending libraries for a neighborhood-wide initiative. If it’s something you might like to participate in (or even spearhead!), please contact us.
More on Little Free Libraries, which has found support across America, is here.