Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Little Free Libraries Encourage Book Sharing in Oxford

Graphic by Free Little Libraries

Imagine a pile of books in your neighbor’s yard, but they’re not holding a yard sale. These books are free, and there’s no librarian card needed. That is called a Little Free Library!

Betty Musselwhite, owner of Bloom Again Oxford, included Little Libraries in her retirement list of to-dos. She bought hers recently and it is available in her yard within Northpointe subdivision.

Little Free Library, before its paint job, is installed in Betty Musselwhite's yard.
Little Free Library, before its paint job, is installed in Betty Musselwhite’s yard.

“It’s a fun way to share your books and a love of reading and books,” said Musselwhite. “I think the only other one besides mine anywhere close to us is the one in Taylor that the city installed. The next closest is the Memphis network and there are lots there, particularly in midtown Memphis.”

She thinks the Little Free Library boxes can help people find something to do with a rather large book collection, and it can be a great conversation starter for neighborhoods.

“Mine is so new, only a few neighbors have noticed it yet, but I have had some books taken, and others left, in the short time we’ve had the library out,” said Musselwhite.

Little Free Library is a growing national movement with over 25,000 registered in all 50 states and 70 plus countries according to its website. These are hand-crafted structures that are installed anywhere easily accessible from a front yard to coffee shops. There is no standard size or shape to these mini-libraries but they are built to withstand weather of all kinds while holding 20 to 100 books.

This movement came out of Wisconsin when Todd Bol built the first Little Free Library in a memorial tribute to his mother in 2009. With Rick Brooks they had ideas and strategies that blossomed into people purchasing 30 Little Free Libraries in 2010 when the movement really took off. Bol, who is the executive director, hopes to reach the organization’s goal of 50,000 stations by 2017.

For those interested in opening more Free Little Libraries in Oxford can visit this page to register.


Callie Daniels is a staff reporter for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com.

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