Monday, June 9, 2014

Neil Says “Hi” By The Way

As always, I blame Rorey for starting this.

A few months ago, she sent me a picture of a little building filled with books in a yard. She pointed out that it would be perfect for me and I should have my husband build one. As I am in the habit of doing exactly what Rorey tells me to do, I am proud to say that my official Little Free Library is now open for business. Let’s get to the specifics.

Who runs it?
I am the official steward of my library. This means that I am completely in charge of stocking it, maintaining it, and spreading the word about it. If that sounds like too much work, then you can always get a whole group of people to rally. But I love books and cultivating my own little patch of reading is heaven on a two-by-four. However, I am always, always, always, looking for donations of books: adult, kids, fiction, non-fiction, board books, comic books, and everything in between.

What is a Little Free Library?
Well, a few years ago, a guy in Wisconsin thought it would be a great idea to build a miniature one room school house (in honor of his mother), fill it with books, put a big sign on it that said FREE, and put it on his lawn. His neighbors loved it. He loved it and started building them and giving them away as gifts. Five years later, there are roughly 15,000 teeny tiny libraries all over the United States. (They are also popular in other countries.) Check out Littlefreelibrary.org for more information.

Where is it?
You can find it right in my own front yard. My brother-in-law would disown me if I put my actual address out into the ether for this, but locals know how to find me. I live on a jogging, dog-walking, bike-riding street, so hopefully I’ll get lots of foot traffic and through social media, lots of word of mouth.

When is it open? 
All the time!

How do you build one? 
Any way you want! I’ve seen birdhouses, lighthouses, magazine racks, newspaper stands, doll houses, miniature houses of all shapes and sizes, and dozens upon dozens of Tardis replicas. Make it sturdy, make it durable, make it water-resistant, but make it accessible. It has to be visible, easy to reach, and not require people to really trespass on your property to get to it. My husband is installing a little spotlight on ours. If you don’t want to build one, you can buy one right off the Little Free website.

Why did I do this?
Because Rorey told me to? Actually, it is because I love books. I am constantly putting books in my mailbox for people to borrow. I love nothing more than talking about books, reading books, and buying books. If you know me at all, you know that I am a bibliophile and a bookworm. I am not precious about it. I haven’t read Proust, or all of Shakespeare’s plays, or every book on the top 100 books of all time. I love comic books, hate the term “chick lit”, and think that if you love it, you should read it. Period. It makes me weep that the year E.L James raked in millions for 50 Shades, there was no Pulitzer given for fiction, but I do realize that 50 brought a lot of people back to reading whereas The Pale King didn’t.

But do your really, really, really want to know why I did it? I did it because books are cool. Last night, I tweeted three authors about my library, telling them that their books were inside. All three responded. Let me be clear – Neil Gaiman, Jennifer Weiner, and Joe Hill all personally responded to tell me that they loved the library. Neil F'ing Gaiman tweeted me. Then retweeted it. So did Joe Hill and Jennifer Weiner. I told them I was giving away their books, for free. I was not buying them as gifts and handing them out. I was not in any way putting a dime in their pocket for their work. And still they loved it. Why? Because they want books to be shared, loved, and discussed. (Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus tweeted that she thinks the library is fantastic. I may just die happy now.)

Books are a great equalizer. When the Apocalypse comes and knocks out all the power, you can still read books. When the zombies come and start eating people, there are lots of books on how to survive. You can get books in prison, on a cruise ship, and everyplace in between. Don’t want to buy a book – borrow one from the millions of free libraries (big or small) throughout the world. All you need is the ability to read or listen. Books can take you anywhere, to any place or time. You can read about anyone, doing anything, anywhere. Books are the gifts that keep on giving. And my husband built me a library so I can share my love of books with you. Don’t let all his work go to waste.

Please, stop on by and pick one up for yourself.
Take a book, leave a book.
Always a gift, never for sale.




7 comments:

  1. Such an awesome idea! Too cool. Kudos

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  3. Is this in Seattle? Was is up in March??

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    1. Not Seattle - other coast entirely.

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  4. I think I might love you..... How freaking awesome is this?! I definitely 100% agree with the paragraph near the end, that begins " Books are a great equalizer" truer words were never spoken. (found you via the bloggess.)

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  5. Wow! This has actually been my dream, mostly because we have lousy libraries here. I pictured mine bigger, hence I will have to wait for my lottery win, but thank's for giving me a nudge! :)

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