Today we only found three, but that matched the number remaining in the car. Yesterday we found six! Since starting to write this blog on June 1, we’ve found 30, maybe more.
I’m talking about those wonderful little boxes scattered around neighborhoods that have handwritten or stenciled words: “Take a book. Share a book.” Lift a latch or turn a wooden peg and the door opens to reveal all sorts of books left for others to read. Little Free Libraries are sprinkled throughout the Twin Cities and suburbs, and we’ve been spending delightful hours driving through neighborhoods in search of them.
Two of these little free libraries (LFL) are within walking distance of our house. In fact we dropped off the first book on one of our morning walks. Later, Stephen and I found four more in our close neighborhood. They’re everywhere!
“Little Free Library is a 501 nonprofit organization that promotes neighborhood book exchanges, usually in the form of a public bookcase. More than 150,000 public book exchanges are registered with the organization and branded as Little Free Libraries.” Wikipedia
Thanks to my author friend Larry Mellman* who first suggested the idea, Stephen and I are distributing my first book, The Key of Idelisia, throughout our area. (Since I self-published, I have a few boxes of books waiting for just such a project!) We carry a box of my first book in the car, pick a neighborhood we haven’t visited yet, and drive slowly street by street keeping a watchful eye out for these Little Free Libraries.
“There’s one!” I hop out, grab a book while Stephen takes pictures of the LFL and its surroundings, deposit my book, and let that absolutely delicious feeling of seeing my book head out into the world sink in.
So far we’ve explored parts of Plymouth, parts of Golden Valley and St. Louis Park, some of Crystal, and a little of New Hope. We’re delighted to find so many people all around us who love books and want to share them. I can hardly wait to drive further afield. In fact, when we stopped at a garage sale—somewhere in the above-named areas—the woman in charge drew us a map of two LFLs in her neighborhood near the Lakes.
I love these little lending libraries. I love leaving my book in them. I love thinking about children serendipitously discovering this tale of 12-year-old Oelsa’s adventures. I love that Oelsa is reaching places beyond my home. Since the beginning of my writing journey, I have dreamed of writing a story that I could share with children everywhere. Looks like I have a good beginning.
If you know of any LFLs that would welcome The Key of Idelisia, please send me a note with the location. Oelsa would love sharing space with other books!
*Larry Mellman, author of The Ballot Boy, and The Man With Sapphire Eyes.