Welcome to the fourth (and final) of four related posts about library cards and access to libraries!

In this collection of posts, we’ve discussed Home, Reciprocal, and Purchased library cards.
Now, we’re wrapping-up by exploring libraries-without-cards.
I hope you’re enjoying these posts, and that they give you ideas for expanding your access to books!


In the previous three posts in this series, we discussed Home, Reciprocal, and Purchased library cards.
They’re available here:
And here:

Five Examples

We’ll discuss five examples of libraries-without-cards that have been around me, and I hope that these examples will ignite your imagination and lead you to explore what bookish places may be around you!

Little Free Library

If you’re not familiar with Little Free Libraries, they are often small repositories of books that look akin to a (large) mailbox. People will place them in their yards, where anyone may walk-up, peer through the glass in the door, and see what treasures await them. You may take books from them &/or share your books in them.

In addition to people’s yards, I’ve seen Little Free Libraries at schools, bus stops, and in a shopping center.

You may even want to start one of your own.

Here’s the URL to Little Free Library’s home, and the Wikipedia article about them:

If you’re curious about what Little Free Libraries may be in your area, you may search the Little Free Library map, here:

And if you search on 98110, you’ll see the Little Free Libraries on My Island. (98110 is the postal code for where I live; Bainbridge Island, WA.)

Beyond the typical Little Free Library look, I’ve seen pictures of ones that are in an old-fashioned British phone box, a British police call box, and a Wardrobe.

Community Centers

On My Island, we have the “Waterfront Park Community Center.”
One of the spaces in our center is a library. Signs dot the bookshelves that say, “Exchange up to 5 books per person per day.” (If you can read five books in a day, I’m quite impressed.)

Organizations We Belong To

You may belong to an organization that has a library on its premises.
This may be a community-based, or a faith-based, organization.
I think every house of worship I’ve been privileged to visit has a library in it, actually. One type of sacred ground upon another.

McMenamins Edgefield

Edgefield is a lovely hotel and grounds near Portland, OR. It has a library space tucked into the building. You could easily miss the passage that leads to the library, which is off-of the Black Rabbit (Edgefield’s main restaurant). So, if you visit Edgefield, please do go hunting for their library (and you may insert a joke here about following the rabbit, Alice-style).

Like a Little Free Library, or the library at our community center, the books at the Edgefield library change, as people take them home, or donate new ones. Every time I’ve visited this space, I’ve run into old friends sitting on the shelves. The most-recent time it was “Anne of Green Gables” by L. M. Montgomery (I have fond memories of this series, from when I was young).

If you’re not familiar with Edgefield, here’s a pair of URLs for you:

There may be a hotel, coffee shop, or some other business near you that includes a library as part of their space.
Keep your eyes open, and you may discover some delightful surprises!

Star Trek Box

Once upon a time, my family learned these two facts about me:

  1. I love Star Trek. (It’s my deep heart’s fandom.)
  2. I love books.

They combined these facts together, and for a long time, every present I got was a Star Trek-related book.
(For the record, I was happy to get Star Trek books then, and I still am, now.)

As happy as I was to have all of these books, after years of receiving them, it became an unwieldy collection; and I believe that one of the joys of reading is sharing stories.
So, I put a bunch of these Star Trek books into a box, wrote “Please Take” and “Read Me” on the box, and placed the box under our kitchen table.
(The kitchen was the main gathering-place of the home I lived-in, at the time.)

I kept refilling the box, as people took books from it, and after awhile, the level of books dropped.

Then, new Star Trek books (ones that hadn’t been mine) started appearing in the box.

More time passed, and the level of books (eventually) dropped again.
And then, non-Star Trek-related books started appearing in the box, and it became a general lending library.

You could have a library under your kitchen table (or wherever it is that friends and family gather in your home).

You could set up a small lending library; all it takes is a box placed where people will find and explore it, an initial set of books to place in the box, and the message that it’s OK to take books from it and add books to it.

Wrapping Up

We’ve covered a lot of ground in these four posts. I hope our discussion has encouraged your curiosity about where you may acquire new library cards, find libraries of various sorts (or possibly start your own); and above all, that you savor the journey.

Library Girl and

PS: If you’d like to get an email alert when I have new posts for you, please type your email address in the box below and click the “Subscribe” button.

PPS: Just before we part, I’d like to note that these blog posts are only half of what I do as Library Girl. The other half is on Twitter. If you don’t have a Twitter account, you may still visit my twitter page and see what I’m up-to, here:
If you are on Twitter, please join the bookish conversation with me.
Thank you.

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