1 May 2018 Susannah

My Little Free Library

My little free library

I am now the proud owner of a Little Free Library and have been so enjoying it. It stands outside my house and locals have been stopping to look and take away a book to read.

They can either return the same book, or bring back a different book that they have finished with. The notice on its roof says ‘Take a Book, Leave a Book’.

It’s a fabulous form of recycling and sharing the pleasure of good books. I have tried to provide a mixture – a couple of detective novels, some non-fiction, a few children’s books, and some modern fiction. I’ve even left a couple of magazines. Someone left a DVD which soon went out again, and it has been intriguing to see how long particular books stay on the shelf. I was soooo delighted that two Jane Austens were amongst the very first books to be borrowed. I obviously live in an intelligent neighbourhood.

However, owning and maintaining such a library brings it own set of responsibilities. What do I do if somebody takes a book and leaves a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey in its place? I loathed the book and do not want it polluting my little library. Nor do I want biographies in it of people I dislike or for whom I feel no respect – Donald Trump, Mugabe and Shane Warne spring to mind. Yet I’d be fine about having a biography of Hitler or Stalin who were infinitely more evil, as reading about them is so interesting. Illogical? Maybe, but I guess we all draw our own lines differently. What books would you refuse to have on your bookshelf?

Have you been tempted to host your own Little Free Library? Do you borrow from one? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

  Susannah Fullerton: Little Free Libraries

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Featured image credit- Susannah Fullerton

Comments (14)

  1. Linda Johnson

    I love the whole concept of the library. I love the giving and receiving and the fact that people can access the world for free. Absolutely joyful. Yes I would consider putting this in place at the end of my driveway. What fun!

  2. Diana Shand

    I would definitely stock it with some Austen literature and would also loathe to see the 50 shades of book being pit there for my Austen book. I’d like such a mini library for the English classics.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Yes, I need a few more classics in my Little Library and I will not pollute it with the terrible Fifty Shades book.

  3. Miland

    Great stuff! But I see the dilemma about censorship – to what extent is your free library public property? I suppose you could have a rule book with an index of prohibited books fixed there, so that potential users would know what to expect.
    Charity bookshops don’t have much choice – I saw a two-volume work on magic, apparently from a private collection, in a local Oxfam bookshop, and showed the manager Dennis Wheatley’s warning inside his “The devil rides out”. I wasn’t suggesting that the shop not sell the “grimoire” though, I just showing something to a friend, since I would be wary of such books myself.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      I guess in a way it is public property, but I will certainly feel able to remove any book of which I disapprove. I also hope children will use it, and therefore will keep an eye on the books to make sure that if a child did pick one up and browse through it, there would be nothing unsuitable.

  4. Janne McDonald

    I have started a little free library in our apartment block. We are only a block of 17 so not a lot of books exchanged and I sometimes go through them and Recycle them, ie swap them at my local hospital Auxiliary Stall. It has encouraged one of our older ‘not so mobile’ dwellers to pick up reading again.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Oh that is so lovely to hear that your apartment block library ahs encouraged one lady to start reading again! Thanks for sharing that.

  5. Anna Maria

    Recycling and sharing books is a great idea! Can anyone set one up? Did you need to inform your local Council? Did you make the library structure or can one purchase one ready-made? It’s certainly one way to get to know your neighbours and their interests. I suppose if I ended up with a shelf of BDSM fiction, ghost written popular sportsmen’s biographies and golf pro books, I think I would have to reconsider my place of residence or shut down the library!

    • Susannah Fullerton

      A friend’s Dad kindly made one for me, but the Little Free Library Scheme does run workshops where you can make your own. I tried to inform my council and the guy I spoke to had never heard of Little Free Libraries. If it is on your own property you can set one up without any permission. Mine is actually on the street under a tree so I have taken a risk and will have to remove it if anyone complains or the council tells me too. As I live in a Paddington terrace house, there was no obvious place at the front where passers-by could easily access the library. So far, all good and no complaints.

      • Anna Maria

        Thank you Susannah,that’s good to know. I live quite nearby Paddington so I may stumble across your library during one of my walks. If so, I may take up the opportunity to borrow and lend.

        • Susannah Fullerton

          My Little Library is in Macdonald St, so do come by and browse, or leave any spare books you don’t need any more.

  6. Vance Gledhill

    Hi Susannah,

    where did you get yours – it looks like a modified large post box…. was that the source?

    • Susannah Fullerton

      A friend of mine asked her Dad to make her one. He was so pleased with the result that he made an extra, which they kindly offered to me. However, the Little Free Library Scheme does do workshops where you can make one for yourself. You can find details on their website I think.

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