Columbus Now Has More Than 100 Little Free Libraries

Take a book, return a book. That’s the Little Free Library philosophy. Central Ohio has a whole lot of little libraries that are giving their communities a quick and easy way to get their hands on reading material.

What is a Little Free Library?

In the year 2009, Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one-room schoolhouse and the little red box sat out in his front yard. He filled it to the brim with books so that neighbors and passersby could pick out one and have something to read for free. But he did have one request: If you take a book, leave a book.

The tiny literary hubs caught on because they turn strangers into friends. Little libraries are a great way to bring a community together because they get people talking about the books they’re exchanging. Now, there are over 50,000 registered Little Free Libraries in 70 different countries.

How do I get a Little Free Library?

Getting a little library is as simple as building one and sticking it out in your front yard. They come in all shapes and sizes. On average, a little library measures to be 20 inches wide by 15 inches deep by 18 inches high. Click here for building tips and pointers.

If you know that you’d do more harm than good trying to build your own little library, you’ve got options. Jon Blake, of Gingerbread Miniatures, is a retired carpenter of 39 years. The Clintonville resident has taken to designing and building Little Free Libraries. His skills are amazing and he can even craft a little library to look like a miniature version of your house. Blake is quite popular in the little library community and has built over 50 of them.

How do I stock my Little Free Library?

When you’re first starting out, finding books to add to your Little Free Library might seem daunting. The easiest way to collect books for the little library is to clear off your old bookshelves. Dust off those books you haven’t touched in years, and feel joy in the fact that someone else will now turn through their pages.

Some other ways to get books are garage sales, thrift stores, and big sales like the Columbus Metropolitan Library Big Book Sale.

How do I register my Little Free Library? Why should I?

Register your Little Free Library on to have your library’s location recorded in their database. A one-time payment of around $40 will get you an official charter number and a plaque to attach to your library. If you’d like to register your library, click here.

By registering your Little Free Library, you’ll help people find it so they can easily swap books with you.

Do I have to register my Little Free Library?

No, not necessarily. If your neighborhood has plenty of little libraries and you’re not afraid of running out of new books to read, there’s no need to register yours with the website. But according to the Little Free Library website, “To protect the Little Free Library name and quality of the Libraries themselves, the name Little Free Library and its common variations are trademarked. If you want to use the name Little Free Library, you must have an official charter sign and charter number on your Library.”

Do you think they trademarked the name “Little Gratuitous Library”?

Regardless of what you decide, you should add your library to the Cbus Libraries map here. It’s a totally free way to let the people of Columbus know where your library is located. Cbus Libraries is a champion of Central Ohio libraries, whether they are part of the Columbus Metropolitan Library or just a little birdhouse full of books.

What’s the coolest Little Free Library you’ve ever seen? Share a photo with us on Facebook and Twitter!

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