You might have spotted something called a Little Free Library, a container sometimes mounted on a post and filled with books, in your neighborhood. These volunteer-led, miniature libraries are part of a book-sharing movement started by Little Free Library, a nonprofit organization founded in 2012 that’s based in Hudson, Wisconsin. There are at least 125,000 registered Little Free Libraries in 110 countries around the world.

How it works

These mini libraries work on an honor system, and anyone can donate a book. For instance, you could add a children’s publication or pick out a novel to read yourself. If you borrow something, you can keep it if you like, but you are encouraged to donate a book in return.

Launch your own

To create a library, you can build your own structure or purchase one from the association; its website provides free building plans and installation tips. Once you have your box set up, you can register it with the purchase of a sign from the organization. The plaque will be inscribed with your library’s unique charter number, and then you can add your location to the Little Free Library online map, which shows where to find registered libraries worldwide. The organization gives registered Little Free Library owners a steward’s packet filled with tips and advice, access to discounted books, and membership to a Facebook support group.

Become a librarian

You can build your own Little Free Library even if you aren’t handy. Some libraries have been created from old mailboxes, repurposed newspaper vending boxes, and even plastic storage bins. Your book-sharing box only needs a door or a lid and enough weatherproofed space to hold a small collection of items to read. You can decorate or paint your structure however you’d like. Once your library is up and running, be sure to check it regularly to keep it clean and well-stocked.

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