Recently, on Facebook and Twitter, I started seeing photos of little free libraries, hanging off fences, sitting on poles in parks and next to bus stops and train stations. Some were elaborate - Hobbit holes, cats, and boats, houses, trees, and even a Dr Who Tardis. Others were simple - re-purposed cupboards, large letter boxes, and even CD cabinets.
Now, if you are around me long enough, you will quickly realise that I love books and reading. I do what I can to promote reading in children - I was an International Read to Me! Day Advocate in March, and ended up reading to my friends children that day. I think that having little free libraries like this, will go a long way in promoting reading for fun.
I have friends that are teachers. They have told me that there are children that do not even own a book, and their parents/caregivers don’t take them to the library. To me, I could not imagine my childhood without books. To never find that magic book that takes you away to another place, another time - to be lost on adventure in the outback, or heading to Mordor with Frodo and Sam and the One Ring, or learning about how to tie knots, or the care of a horse, or checking out the adventures of the Space Hubble Telescope, or learning about dinosaurs. Unthinkable! Yet it is a reality of so many children, and adults.
I heard of one story of a boy that always found reading boring, until he found a book in a Little Free Library that interested him. How fantastic is that! Woohoo! I love stories like that. That gets me excited. Seeing children finding a book they love and wanting it read one hundred times. I love hearing about stories how a child, who found reading boring or difficult, found a book that they feel in love with and wanted to read it all the time.
I had considered putting one of these libraries out the front of my place as I live right across the road from a primary school. Sadly, many things get vandalized in the area so that had put me off and I was considering other options. I was so excited when my daughter told me that she had spotted a Little Free Library in the center of town near a Pop-up Park.
On a mild April Saturday morning, I drove down to the Pop-up Park with my daughter, a friend, and my dog Toby in tow. To the sound of African drumming in the background I discovered this little wonder. I was so excited and amazed that in our rural town, someone had already gotten on board with this idea. It was so wonderful to find this gem in my town.
Speaking later on Facebook to the person responsible for placing it there, they said that "it was originally on my fence. But, when the Pop-up Park started, I decided to put it in town near the Pop-up Park instead. It was more accessible to more people."
Let’s hope that the momentum keeps growing and we will begin to see these little treasures popping up like mushrooms after rain everywhere.
Please check out Little Free Libraries Australia on Facebook or on their website, Little Free Library.
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