Little free libraries gained popularity around 2010 as local sources for book sharing. Now, these mini-libraries that are tucked into many neighborhoods are getting new life as sources for supplies during COVID-19.
The official Little Free Libraries program started in 2009, and now, in addition to old murder mystery novels or how-to knitting books, many San Francisco residents are filling the small stations with food, soap, and much sought after rolls of toilet paper.
The trend began back in March, and now little libraries all over the bay area and even in Washington and Wisconsin are participating. Some have girl scout cookies or canned food. One even had a small bottle of bourbon tucked in it.
There is concern about sanitizing shared items. One library in Wisconsin had specific instructions for sanitizing items before placing them in the library. Another suggested sanitizing books and wrapping them in paper before placing them in the donation sites.
During this stressful and confusing time, providing for our community can give us a sense of purpose and support those around us who may not have easy or safe access to grocery stores and critical supplies. These little libraries are a perfect solution for giving out goods, while social distancing, to neighbors in need.
Next time you take a walk around your own neighborhood, keep an eye out for these little free libraries and consider contributing. Even better, if you have one of your own, add some supplies to it and start the trend in your own community.