Thursday, August 08, 2013

Libraries Get Grassroots Treatment

Though books and reading have never been more popular, in a difficult world economy, traditional libraries are constantly under threat. Not only is funding an increasing challenge, the very concept of a community library is  being questioned in some areas. In an age of e-books and an ever-present Internet, is there even really a need for an institution that makes books available to the community?

A grassroots movement has the answer to all of these questions. Ask anyone involved with the Little Free Library if people still want books and it seems likely you’ll get a resounding “Yes!”

Over the last few years, free and pop up libraries have been appearing with increasing frequency around the world. For example, 40 countries have registered 5000 Little Free Libraries, such as the one shown at left. Basically the size of a large birdhouse or an ample dollhouse, patrons may come an take a book… or leave one, with the idea being a sharp focus on literacy and an effort to get and keep people reading.

If you’d like to see if there’s a Little Free Library in your community, visit the world map here. Meanwhile, there’s a message here for library administrators and anyone who would wonder about the health of books and reading: despite extreme technological advances, at their core, libraries still really need to be about books.

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