Monday, July 25, 2016

Little Free Library -- Hilton Head

We had a fantastic family vacation in Hilton Head last week.  Twenty-three people under one roof -- way more fun that it sounds!  One of our family togetherness activities is biking, and I glimpsed this Little Free Library on one of our spins and circled back later in the week to check it out.

I've been intrigued by Little Free Libraries for about a year now.  My street actually gets quite a bit of foot traffic, and I love the idea of stocking a library with books that neighbors or passers-by might enjoy.  I was eager to check one out up close.

The signage on this HHI Little Free Library says "Take a Book.  Return a Book."  Does that mean that a trade is expected (take a book if you give a book) or simply that you are expected to return the book you took?  I didn't find the language punishing or anything, just curious about how Little Free Libraries usually work.  A Little Free Library seems perfect for a vacation town where visitors may have forgotten (what?!) reading material or not packed enough. 

If I decide to start my own library, I'll have to think about the wording I want to go along with it.

Here's an up-close of the most interesting offerings in the HHI Little Free Library.  Far left is a hardback of The Goldfinch.  I adored that book, but I think it would be quite an undertaking for a week-long vacation.  I read Luckiest Girl in the World last summer.  It came together for me eventually, but early in the book, I almost had to abandon it because I was so upset/disturbed by the some of the high school "party" scenes.  Not a reading experience I would wish on anyone during vacation.  If I had been without reading material in HHI (of course, I had plenty), I would have chosen Jean Kwok's Mambo in Chinatown as I loved her earlier novel, Girl In Translation.  Highly recommend.

The only thing I took was two photos.

The Little Free Library was quite packed, which leads me to more questions/concerns.  Do Little Free Library stewards have trouble with people using their libraries as book donation drop boxes?  I wouldn't want mine filled with old textbooks or books people simply don't want or like.  Also, I didn't see anything inappropriate in this library, but I'm wondering how much curating or policing is necessary?  I'm no censor, but if, say, a ten year-old is going to read Fifty Shades of Grey, I don't want him/her finding it in my front yard because someone wanted to share the "love."

The Little Free Library website reveals that there are several Little Free Libraries in my town so maybe I'll check them out and possibly talk to their stewards about the experience.

If you have any information or experience with Little Free Libraries, please share!


  1. I don't know much about the ins and outs of LFL's but have always been intrigued by them...and this one has some pretty good stuff in it!

  2. Hey Mimi!
    Our pediatric office has a little free library at the entrance and our neighborhood has one on the street. There is no expectation to leave a book if you take a book. I have found awesome reading opportunities in both libraries! Our patients love to check it out and the parents often make special trips to drop off books or check some out. My kids ride their bikes to our neighborhood LFL and drop off old books all the time. It's a great community asset!!