A Little Free Library in Seattle, WA

So as if there’s not enough yucky news in the world right now . . . I just learned that some neighborhoods are cracking down on Little Free Libraries, of all things.

Little Free Libraries –tiny houses for a select number of books in public places — have been sprouting up in neighborhoods around the U.S. since 2009. Built on the give-one-take-one principle, these miniature, uncurated libraries provide a great way to recycle or acquire used books. They are great community builders, too. They help put books in the vicinity of children and combat illiteracy. As bookstores have shuttered and regular libraries reduced their hours, the Little Free Library movement has been gaining traction.

So apparently, politicians in various towns and cities (Los Angeles, I’m looking at you . . . ) are considering these to be “illegal detached structures.” They are requiring permits or threatening to tear them down.


Yep. Here’s an article about it.

And another.

I’m glad to report that there is a neighborhood where Little Free Libraries are thriving and, so far, unthreatened by bureaucracy and city zoning laws! In Ballard, a neighborhood in Seattle, WA, there are NUMEROUS Little Free Libraries. On my visit there last week, my family and I went for a walk and found six within a several-block radius. Here are some pictures I took. We all found books and magazines to read and donated some of our used ones. My seven-year-old took a special delight in running to the little structures and seeing if anything new had shown up.

If you find these in a neighborhood near you, I encourage you to donate. Or why not start one yourself? The Little Free Libraries website has some great suggestions about how you can start or register a library, as well as how you can support this movement in lots of interesting ways!

What’s in the Little Free Library today?