Of all the public services that have closed in my town in recent weeks, one has hit me particularly hard – my local library.

Gone is my steady stream of new releases, my treasure trove of old favourites and the hours spent discovering hidden gems.

Gone are the helpful librarians, ready with recommendations.

Gone are the weekly discussion groups where strangers join to share their love of reading.

full disclosure, my local library looks nothing like this

It’s a shame on many levels, but all is not lost because there is another way….

Start your own free little library

Street libraries are not a new concept, but they’ve taken on a new meaning in these Coronavirus-afflicted days where it’s no longer safe to mingle with other booklovers.

They look like this:

adorable artwork optional

And patrons are usually encouraged to ‘take a book, leave a book’ so the library can replenish itself.

In my experience, these little libraries take on the character of their neighbourhoods.

Our ‘burb is predominantly young families so there are a lot of children’s books in there (LPT: a short excursion to one of these is a great idea if you have bored and restless kids underfoot at the moment)

If you don’t have such a thing in your neck of the woods, how about starting one (provided you’re not in Toronto)?

You don’t need any special equipment – just a box (preferably weatherproof) and some books.

selections vary wildly, but the surprise is half the fun

Start your library, get the word out and then sit back and watch the magic happen.

With a little bit of community support, the library will take on a life of its own – giving you instant karma and your neighbours the gift of reading at a time when they are probably hungry for distraction.

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