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Friday Slide Show: Little Libraries Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

20 March 2020

One of the first things a new neighbor did was plant a Little Free Library book-sharing box on their property under the protection a giant shade tree. We thought that was a nice way to say hello.

And it got a lot of use. We were able to observe it out our picture window from which we kept statistics on the passersby. Generally speaking, people were more likely to take a book on their way uphill (73 percent) than downhill (5 percent).

This was a genuine Little Free Library, which just a week ago celebrated its 100,000 installation. Greig Metzger, the executive director, estimated those little libraries will share over 36 million books this year.

We say "genuine" because you can actually register the things with the organization. But, really, it's the thought that counts.

And that thought is that if you leave a book out, someone will take it, read it and, in gratitude, return or replace it.

We've noticed the stock is much more likely to be replaced than returned. There are always new titles.

We've also noticed the little libraries are mushrooming all over the place. On a recent stroll through the empire, we counted three of them. So we thought we'd make a slide show of them, interspersed with the local scenery. Which, in one case, included dinosaurs.

Libraries are wonderful things. San Francisco is blessed with a superb public library system that continues to serve despite having to close its buildings by providing free Hoopla and Kanopy accounts for TV shows and movies plus free access to newspapers like the New York Times and magazines.

But you could do worse during these shelter-in-place times than to stumble on a Little Free Library and find a dog-eared title right up your alley.

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