Leave a book, build a community

2017-05-07 15.01.47 HDRThere’s a growing trend of giving away books thanks to organizations like Little Free Library and The Book Fairies.

While there are a few key differences between these organizations, they share an enormous love for literacy and community.

The Little Free Library is a nonprofit that’s mission is “to inspire a love of  reading, build community and spark creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world,” according to the website. It’s purpose is to provide access to books in what you could call, book deserts.

The Book Fairies, a worldwide book sharing society, sells stickers, bookmarks, ribbons, etc. to people who wish to give away books as treats to future passersby. The idea, according to the website, was inspired by a similar organization called BookCrossing. The Book Fairies have become particularly popular thanks to the participation of Emma Watson.

Here’s how you can participate:

The Little Free Library

As the name implies, it’s totally free to partake in the book-sharing this global library system provides. All you have to do is find a location near you. Here’s a handy treasure map for you literature lovers: Map to wonderful new worlds.

If you’d like to do more than “take a book, leave a book,” then you might want to consider hosting your own Little Free Library. You can buy a library from their website or build your own. The build your own option may be better for casual Little Free Librarians because libraries range from $149 to almost $1,000. Plus, building your own LFL doesn’t exclude you from the library perks as long as you’re registered.

The cheapest LFL charter signs cost $42.45 and includes quite a few benefits:

  • a unique charter number
  • the option to add your library to the world map
  • access to a private Facebook group for LFL stewards
  • a LFL guide
  • a newsletter subscription
  • access to deeply discounted books
  • a how-to flier for your library

The Book Fairies

Though book fairies may seem magical, the process to become one is simple. Anyone can be a book fairy. All you need is a book fairy sticker, which you can purchase from their headquarters: Book Fairy HQ. If you’d like to make your book drop more special The Book Fairies offer ribbons, totes, bookmarks and badges, too.

All of these cute additions certainly build an online community. But don’t forget this simple truth: you’re dropping off books for others to have. So don’t let money stop you. Use what you have. If you want to drop off a book on a corner with nothing but a Post-it note and the words “Beloved Free Book” scribbled on it, then do it! For someone receiving a free book, you’ll be just as much of a magical creature.

And remember, at the heart of what both organizations do is a simple love for books. So get out there. Find your free books and give some away!


In case you missed it, read our previous blog, “The Escape: Reading for Mental Health.”

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