Little Free Library: A Sad Story

Little Free Libraries, like WPA markers, almost always catch my eye. If I can’t stop, then I make it a point to return and get pictures, straighten up books, and leave a few books. I have the app on my phone, but am finding that many do not pop up there, but they certainly exist.

Sadly, not all are well tended and many are empty. The torquoise and yellow library sits in front of a junior high school. When I recently stopped by the door was hanging open because the door knob was broken and the latch was gone. It was a mess, so I straightened up the dusty books. Obviously, it has not been tended although it was mostly full. I added a few things and pulled out some childrens books because I was out of them to leave in other libraries. I’m contacting LFL to see if it has a steward and what can be done. It is on a busy street with pedestrians aplenty and if it had a sign would no doubt be frequently patronized.

I had driven by this one several times before I noticed it; just to offer an excuse, I had my mind on the meeting I was going to in a nearby building. The building behind it, like several in this area, is empty and it appears this library is abandoned even though it does have a plaque on it. One panes of glass is broken out and the other one looks like it will soon fall out.

The last time I passed by it was empty. It is not on a well-traveled street and faces the frontage road of a major freeway. I suspect that when the building and others around it were occupied that it was well used.

This poor library is downtown by the Magik Childrens Theater. It was placed by a Girl Scout troop and constructed by a local high school’s CTE (Career and Technical Education) students. Such a cute design using a wooden barrel, but it is in an inner city setting and appears to have no one to tend it. Perhaps one of the many residents downtown will see it and give it some TLC.

This poor thing is in a small park that has few amenities, but is still popular with groups because there is a very large mowed field that lends itself to softball games and other sports. There were a few tattered books in it, but judging from the weathered paint I felt sure it had not been tended in a long time. I was surprised because the LFL in the park near my house is always well stocked and patronized, so I wasn’t sure why this one wasn’t also being utilized. Perhaps a sign would attract users?

These Little Free Libraries really need someone to befriend them and bring them back to life. Hmmm. Just like a lot of old buildings that just need someone to recognize their significance and value to our communities!

8 thoughts on “Little Free Library: A Sad Story

  1. It seems little libraries and food pantries are neglected all over this country. I often put food in a pantry in town, which I stopped doing when I found out – The men living in a near by house who sell illegal drugs empties all the food out of this pantry. Never leaving anything for low income families. What a sad world.

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    1. That is sad! Many of the churches here have food pantries supplied with donated food and food from the local Food Bank. I’ve helped with one and it is amazing!

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      1. How sad! The food pantry near me is based out of a building. Once a week the Food Bank brings trucks of food and volunteers sort it out. Pre-screened clients drive up and it is loaded into their car. It is well-organized chaos for the volunteers, but provides a week of food to several hundred families.

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  2. My guess is that the enthusiasm wanes. I have also learned there is an initial fee to register a free little library on their site. That may be why some are not on there. I don’t know if there is a yearly fee. Maybe they could have a feature “Adopt a Free Little Library” – where someone could volunteer to fix it up or maintain it for some period of time. But I guess they would have to clear it through the original “owner.” Sounds like some “process” is needed. I love these little libraries, too. Sometimes campgrounds have them, and I think that is especially great!

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  3. I love the idea behind LFLs but I’m dismayed at how expensive and time-consuming it can be to keep one up.

    I remember this one Reddit thread where multiple people talked about how they spent money out of their own pocket to keep the LFL stocked because there otherwise wouldn’t be anything going in. They have to keep monitoring the LFL to make sure junk and books that no one will probably want are cleared to make room for the books that work.

    Also, I think a lot of people in my city would rather just support the city library system or donate books for charity sales, so that’s why the LFLs don’t get as much attention.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. They are expensive. Some are always well tended and well stocked and others, like these, are not. They seem to do best where located in a neighborhood where people find the library and then interact with their neighbors and the LFL.

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