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Blake Pontchartrain: Little Free Library 

How can I set up and stock a free lending library?

click to enlarge This Little Free Library at the corner of Filmore Avenue and Vermillion Street has a reading bench and umbrella.

Photo by Kandace Power Graves

This Little Free Library at the corner of Filmore Avenue and Vermillion Street has a reading bench and umbrella.

Hey Blake,

How can I help set up and stock those free lending libraries I see around town? Is there a list of where they are? Most of them look like little houses on a pole and say "take a book, leave a book" or something similar. I've got lots of books to share.

Sarah

Dear Sarah,

  The Little Free Library is a simple idea that has brought the joy of reading and sharing books to neighborhoods all over the world. They are small boxes, often resembling a birdhouse with a door, that are built by groups or individuals who fill the box with books for neighbors to borrow. It is the ultimate lending library in that users are encouraged to take a book for free but also leave a book on their next visit, to keep the idea going.

  A quick check of the group's online map at www.littlefreelibrary.org shows nearly 60 libraries in New Orleans and several in Jefferson and St. Tammany Parishes. The first local library appears to have pop-ped up in Algiers in 2012.

  The program was born in 2009 in Hudson, Wisconsin, where Todd Bol built a model of a one-room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard, with a sign saying "Free books." By the following year, the idea spread through word of mouth. According to the group's website, currently there are more than 40,000 registered Little Free Library book exchanges in all 50 states and more than 70 countries. Library owners must cover the cost of construction or purchase a box from the organization. They can register their book exchange to be listed on the website by paying a one-time fee of $45.



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Little Free Library
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Little Free Library

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