Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Rochester's Neighborhood Little Free Libraries

Little Free Library on Dartmouth Street in the Park Avenue neighborhood. (11/27/13)
I am pretty sure it had been there for a while, I had just failed to take note of it. Two year's ago, while walking the dog around our neighborhood, I noticed a small mailbox-type structure in the front of a yard two blocks from my home. It was positioned close to the sidewalk, but too far away from the house to be a mailbox in the city. Taking a peak inside, I realized there were books and a small sign affixed to the roof identifying it as a "Little Free Library".

Little Free Library on Marion Street on Rochester's East side. (1/11/15)
On another walk later that winter, I snapped a picture of it, where it became just one of many digital images that become hidden away on a hard drive. Over the past year, however, I have discovered myself stumbling across three more such libraries (one of which  seemingly went "off line" not to long ago) and after recalling that original Little Free Library picture, finally decide to share them along with some background.

Little Free Library at Rochester Public Market. (11/30/14)
The interactive map on their website reveals that there are indeed many Little Free Libraries around the world in such far flung locales as the Netherlands and Nicaragua! Currently there are at least ten in the metropolitan Rochester area, as well as a few in the nearby suburbs. Two observations from reviewing the organization's map: it does not include some of those pictured on this post and, oddly there appear to be none located in any of the city's west side suburbs such as Greece--the school district in which I work. In both instances, one hopes that the site is just in need of an update.

Interior of Little Free Library at Rochester Public Market. (11/30/14)
As explained on the Little Free Library website, the "take a book, give a book" movement is intended to give "neighbors share their favorite literature and stories." Since 2009, the brainchild of two businessmen out of the Mid-West, Todd Bol and Rich Brooks, the grassroots organization has been working to create this avenue for ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to read. I am curious as to how much actual foot traffic these little beauties actually receive.

Based solely on location, the majority of Little Libraries in the metropolitan Rochester (the notable exception being the one located in the Public Market, though it is a trendy city-spot for suburban visitors) reside in middle to upper-middle class neighborhoods where I would reckon most residents probably purchase books or borrow them from our well-stocked county public library system.

In the end, in addition to being very aesthetically pleasing additions to the often drab winter landscape, any organization such as this that continues to positively promote a love reading is certainly worth supporting, if only to help generate some word of mouth.

Little Free Libraries of Rochester, NY on RochesterSubway.com
Curious and Uncommon


Jerry Knaak said...

Ingenious idea.

Mister Scott said...

In the last week (since posting this), I've notice a few more in Rochester neighborhoods, too!