Book worms, this one is for you! Little Free Libraries are basically mailboxes but instead of holding private mail, they are home to books that community members give away for free. Neighbors can take one, leave one, or both. The concept is simple yet so fun, fresh, and makes the decision on what to read next a true adventure while also making educational tools available to those in need.
According to Reading is Fundamental, a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C.:
- Illiteracy costs the United States $225 billion a year
- Almost 35% of children lack the language skills to begin learning how to read
- Over 60% of high school students graduate below proficient in reading
- One out of five Americans reads below the reading level needed to earn a living wage
These statistics about literacy in America fuel numerous organizations whose mission is to increase access to reading materials, and that includes Little Free Library.
Little Free Libray was born out of an idea from Wisconsin resident Todd Bol, and University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Rick Brooks, to create a community gifting network. Todd Bol had been building single-room schoolhouses filled with books to honor his late mother, a dedicated school teacher. Inspired by Andrew Carnegie’s mission in the early 1900s to build 2,508 free public libraries, the pair set a goal to build 2,508 free little libraries by 2013. By the end of 2012, Free Little Library had garnered so much attention that they were able to crush their goal and had chartered over 4,000 little libraries nationwide.
Read More: A Guide to Bookstores in Essex County
The organization has since received national recognition from the National Book Foundation, the American Library Association, and the Library of Congress. Free Little Library has also launched a series of initiatives such as Read in Color, to bring awareness to the lack of diversity among children’s book characters, and the Impact Library Program, which offers free libraries to communities where there would otherwise be limited or no access to books primarily for children. Today, there are over 100,000 Free Little Libraries worldwide sharing 42 million books per year.
For those who are interested in starting their own Free Little Library, the organization recommends following their how-to outlining the process in five simple steps and subscribing to receive the Insider’s Guide for more exclusive tips and information from current stewards. Read on for a list of all the Free Little Libraries within Montclair + Bloomfield with their address, and steward contact, if available.
- 53 Pleasant Way
- 56 Nishuane Road (Poets + Saints Little Free Library)
- 73 S. Fullerton Avenue (Steward: email@example.com)
- 4 Harrison Avenue (Steward: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- 39 Grove Street (Steward: email@example.com)
- 57 Tuxedo Road (Bonesteel’s LFL) (Steward: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- 66 Tuxedo Road (Black, Indigenous, + POC Children’s LFL) (Steward: email@example.com)
- 68 Grove Street (Library on the Corner)
- 15 Wendover Road (Madorsky Brothers Library)
- 245 Valley Road (The Shire Central Library)
- 245 Valley Road (Mary Beth Weil)
- 19 Fairfield Street (Steward: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- 149 Watchung Avenue (The Little Red Barn Little Free Library)
- 45-47 Watchung Avenue (Watchung’s Little Free Library)
- 29 Carolin Road (The Little Hands Little Free Library)
- 11 Lane Court (Miriam’s Library) (Steward: email@example.com)
- 69 Oakwood Avenue (LeAnne Korbel) (Steward: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- 158 Grove Street (Carteret School) (Steward: email@example.com)
- 9 Lobell Court (Little Lobell Library) (Steward: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- 149 State Street (Detroit-Vesey Family) (Steward: email@example.com)
- 483 Watchung Avenue (LFL of Brookdale) (Steward: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- 60 Byrd Avenue (Vassar Field Library)
- 230 Broad Street (Brookdale School) (Steward: email@example.com)
- 109 Parkview Drive (Brookdale Park)