Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Little Free Libraries and Charlie Brown

Looking for a satisfying weekend project? Think about installing a tiny house in your front yard to store books. It would encourage anyone who passes by to take a book and better yet leave a book in return. 

Little Free Library is a project conceived by Todd Bol from Hudson, Wisconsin. He built his first one for a garage sale in 2009. His mother had recently passed away and he wanted to honor her with something bookish. So a small red schoolhouse box was erected in the yard and filled with her books. A sign was placed next to the box that said Free Books. Bol stated that the library box was "a spiritual gesture," a tribute to his mother.
http://littlefreelibrary.org/ourhistory/ This is the link to Little Free Library website. 

The unique concept of a free lending library has taken off with some savvy marketing. These libraries serve as a fulcrum to connect people within a community. Today barely four years later there are more than 12,000 Little Free Libraries around the world. Right here in Minnesota there are more than 1,000 and two right down the street from me. 
What puzzled me on a recent walk was that only a driveway and a yard separated the two Little Free Library boxes. So I divided my pile of books between the boxes. I was pleasantly surprised to see how full both boxes were that day. The concept of these lending libraries was a featured story in the Star Tribune on November 13, Take A Book, Return A Book. It was an informative article. Follow this link to read the entire article and find out how Bol is planning new strategies to make lending libraries more global. 

Since the article appeared in the paper it has promoted several Letters to the Editor in the Star Tribune. Most of the letters show support for these lending libraries as it affords an opportunity for anyone to choose a book and it promotes reading. It can serve as a connection between neighbors. One young mother's letter stated that it can also give children excitement to see one more place to choose a book from.  A self- published author wrote in that he viewed these libraries as another way to share his own writing with the community.

But there always is a flip side to the equation. A retired librarian wrote in expressing her concern that by having these libraries in the neighborhood people would then not support the public libraries in their area that are already experiencing cutbacks.  As a result of her letter several rebuttal letters have been sent in to the editor debating the pros and cons of Little Free Libraries.  At least this concept of free lending libraries has been generating lots of discussion in the community. I like to think the more books around, the better.
Any thoughts on this subject?  

Charles Monroe Schulz (November 26, 1922 – February 12, 2000) was nicknamed Sparky by his uncle. He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Schultz was an American cartoonist best known for the comic strip Peanuts (which featured the characters Snoopy and Charlie Brown among others). He is widely regarded as one of the most influential cartoonists of all time, cited as a major influence by many later cartoonists. 

After serving in World War II, Schulz worked as an art instructor and created his first comic strip, Li'l Folks, which was published in a local newspaper. He sold the comic strip to United Feature Syndicate in 1950, and the company retitled it Peanuts.

Schultz based the Charlie Brown character on himself and the inspiration for Snoopy came from a childhood pet. Peanuts became one of the world's most successful strips that would run in more than 2000 newspapers and in many languages. The comic strip has been adapted for television and stage and expanded into TV specials like the Emmy-winning A Charlie Brown Christmas well as books and a huge merchandise collection

In December 1999, Schulz retired from cartooning, citing health problems. After his death in 2000, Schulz received several honors, including the Congressional Gold Medal from the U.S. Congress in 2001.
One of my favorite quotes...
"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.” 
― Charles M. Schultz
One of Bella's favorite quotes...
"Happiness is a warm puppy.”
-Charles M. Schultz

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing about this, Sue.

    I love and appreciate these libraries. LFL co-founder Todd Bol donated one to my hometown of Vesta in southwestern Minnesota in July 2012. I worked with him and local community leaders to make this happen and was there when he delivered the library to the community cafe.

    Vesta has never had a library and lost its bookmobile service due to budget cuts. The nearest library is 20 miles distant, meaning this was needed.

    Here's a post I wrote on the LFL coming to Vesta:

    I'm totally with you on thinking there can never be enough books available. These complement public libraries, not hurt them.

    In Vesta, the woman who runs the cafe added bookshelves inside. So there are many more books than in the LFL.