Neighborhood Support Network

Neighborhood Support Network

By and For Neighborhood Leaders in Tucson and Southern Arizona

Little Free Libraries

From Meg Johnson, Secretary and creator of the Garden District’s excellent e-newsletter:

I can’t say enough about the power of a Little Free Library to not only build literacy, but to build community. Our library is one block north of Pima and one block west of Columbus at Lester and Justin. It is a gathering place for young and old and quite a focal point of our community. A little girl down the street comes once or twice a day — just in case anyone put in a new book. Many residents stop daily on their walks. Once, a group of neighbors with wine glasses in hand strolled over with their kids to check it out while the BBQ was heating up. Once an ambulance stopped and the paramedics took turns checking out the library and taking a book. Once a woman stopped whose daughter was going to college in Iceland. The daughter wanted to build the first Little Free Library in Iceland.

We have a huge number of immigrants and refugees who live in our neighborhood and the local school has 100% of their population on Free and Reduced lunch. There are children who walk past the library who literally have no books in their homes. You should see the joy and excitement on their faces when I tell them they may take and keep a book. Yes, they take a book and never return one, but for every one of those, there’s someone who leaves 10 books for the one that they take. I always have books in stock that I can trade out every so often. Unbelievably, since crime and graffiti are a huge issue in my neighborhood, the library has been there a year and never been tagged or vandalized (we thought the glass doors would last a week MAX?!?!).

The one problem we have had is that we can’t seem to keep a guestbook in there. They keep getting taken. I think it well could be because some people who use it do not speak English, much less read it. They do not realize that the guest book is supposed to stay with the library and that it is not one of the books to be taken. I would be glad to answer any questions. You can contact me through the Garden District website. Click on subscribe for the newsletter and that will direct your email to me and I will get back to you. (Original text from 2013)

Tucson Loves its Little Free Libraries