Monday, August 26, 2013
Little Free Libraries
As I slowly work up my first series of bespoke clerkmanifesto books (grafted and redesigned into old weeded, damaged, and discarded hardcover books) to distribute into Little Free Libraries I find I am paying a lot of attention to the Little Free Libraries in my neighborhood. I love these little distilled and pure Libraries and am thinking they are the brightest new representation of the popular Public Library out there in a very long time. Within the grand institutional Library systems, or at least in mine, there has been for decades now an awful lot of yammering, attention, worry, and comparison with and to technological development and Libraries keeping up with the times. There is great obsession with e-books, social media, relevance, and changing media. But I don't hear people bringing up much, on In Service days or in various Strategic Plannings, the challenge presented to us by Little Free Libraries. I don't see a lot of people sitting around wondering how Libraries, with all their late fines and institutional processes, closing times, and building upkeep, can keep up with the nimble, mind bogglingly simple to use Little Free Libraries. I don't see us worrying about responding to that challenge.
It's not so much that I actually see The Little Free Library as a challenge. It's more that if we're going to come up with fake challenges like ebooks I like this one better. These challenges are really just excuses and arguments for what we do next. And if we're hunting around for money, how about instead of a grant for iPad dispensers we get a grant to convert all our money raising bookstores into Little Free Libraries. No, not little mini houses on a post, just some shelves of no fuss, borrowable books. I look around my neighborhood and the wee little book houses are popping up in yards all over the place. Clearly it's what our constituency is interested in. Let's give them what they want, Little Free Libraries even within the Library. And then, with the big shoulders of the Public Libraries, we too can contribute to their growth and perfection.