Little Free Libraries: Take a book, leave a book

littlelibrary2

A Little Free Library at Foxrun and Nine Mile roads.
Photo by Iqueena Hollis.

Iqueena Hollis

Staff Writer

Little Free Library locations are popping up all over the city of Pensacola, and they offer a great way for anyone to read new books and exchange old ones at no cost.

There are about 20 Little Free Library locations in and around the city of Pensacola that can be accessed any time of the day or night. Many of these locations can be found in the downtown and East Hill neighborhood area. The closest one to UWF is at 10191 Sugar Creek drive.

The Little Free Library company is comprised of thousands of locations around the country. The company’s philosophy, according to their website, is, “To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide and to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.”

Members of the community who want to set up a location in their neighborhoods can visit the main company site and learn the steps to set up their own library. The builder is responsible for creating the actual post and structure of the library and will register it with an official charter to be assigned a company number.

Once the library has been set up and is fully operational, members of the community are free to visit and donate or swap out books to read. Any genre of book can be added to the library, and there is no sign-in system for people to borrow books.

“The Little Libraries gives people in the community the convenience of not going to a regular library,” said Elly Fisher, a member of the community who helped establish the little library location in Alabama Square downtown. “We have a lot of people in this area who come from different backgrounds, some of which may not have the resources to access books or the identification to get a library card. With this system, everyone has free access to [a] library.”

Fisher said she and her husband also donate books throughout the year to the Little Library location in Alabama Square to make sure it stays stocked.

The steps to begin your own little free library are fairly easy and outlined in detail on the main website of the company. Potential builders can also find tips, rules and recommendations for Little Free Library locations on the site.

“I started one at Warrington Middle School. It’s very successful and I love that several organizations will donate books as needed to replace ones that are damaged or not returned,” said Michelle Salzman, also a member of the community. “I love the little map (online) that shows how you are a part of something bigger than just your library. It’s a really incredible program.”

A map of all the local locations can also be found on the company site, along with links to directions and the exact street addresses. The company also has a Pinterest board, where you can see ideas for building a little library of your own.