If you've ever taken a walk through a south Minneapolis neighborhood, you’ve almost certainly encountered a Little Free Library. Operating on an honor system of “take a book, return a book,” over 100,000 of these charming fixtures adorn front yards and public spaces in all fifty states and over 100 countries around the world.
“If you love books, you immediately connect with this concept of sharing them with your neighbors,” says Margret Aldrich, author of The Little Free Library Book and director of communications and media relations at the Little Free Library organization. Aldrich is a longtime resident of south and southwest Minneapolis, where she first became a “steward”—the movement’s official term for the owner of a library. The foundation welcomes everyone to take a book and then share their favorites in return.
Aldrich extols the community-building power of Little Free Libraries. Remembering her first library’s installation in her yard, she recalls, “People immediately started coming over to see what was going on. We met neighbors we hadn’t ever spoken to before within the first ten minutes.” Her book is a primer for all things Little Free Library, outlining the movement’s history, profiling stewards worldwide, and how to get started and maintain a library as a steward oneself.
2019 marked the 10-year anniversary of Little Free Library, founded by Todd Bol in Hudson, Wisconsin. The abundance of Little Free Libraries in Minneapolis is no coincidence, as the program was piloted in the city early on to great success. “Minneapolis really embraced it and was a great incubator for starting this global movement,” says Aldrich. And global it is indeed—the libraries are found on every continent except Antarctica. Aldrich would love to see one there. Laughing, she puts out the call: “If you know someone, I’d love to see that happen!”
Little Free Library Organization
573 County Road A, Suite 106