giving back

Community: How to Build a Library and Build Your Community

giving backbettering communities

Bettering Communities—For a short period of my life, my neighbors remained nameless faces who smiled and waved as they quickly sped by my home. If I ever needed help, I would have to go to the “lady with two dogs who always works in her yard.” See, I didn’t know her name.

Unfortunately, not knowing your neighbors is common in today’s world. We have kids to run and dinners to make and calendars to fill. Neighbors, shneighbors. Who has time?

Three years ago, a Wisconsin man came up with a great idea: he would build a library. No, not a brick-and-mortar and staffed with employees type of library, but a Little Free Library. Todd Bol’s Little Free Library was a handmade, waterproof box he filled with books, and then placed in his front yard. Todd’s idea was to honor his mother, a former teacher and to encourage his neighbors to take a book and then return a book.

The idea caught on. Big time. Neighbors came filing out of their homes and soon, Todd’s neighbors weren’t the only ones noticing the Little Free Library. In fact, today, there are Little Free Libraries in 40 states and 20 countries. Little Free Libraries can be found in front of homes, offices and even perched at bus stops.

In addition to promoting literacy, these Little Free Libraries build community. People are talking and not just about books, but about life.

Here’s the fun thing about the Free Little Library: you can take part.

On Todd’s website, he gives plans and tips for building your own library or if creating a library isn’t your thing, you can even buy a ready-made library. Don’t have the cash to build or buy? Todd doesn’t want that to be an issue. There are underwriters and Give It Forward team members who will assist with decreasing the financial burden.

So, what are you waiting for? Little Free Libraries are a great way for you to learn the name of the lady with two dogs who always works in her yard, and perfect time to move beyond the smile and wave mentality.

Click here for a video clip about Free Little Libraries.

How do you actively engage your neighbors?

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.

Can one beyond blessed family move from addicted to themselves to devoted to others? The author of this post shares honestly at Amy L. Sullivan about her family’s attempt to become less me, me, me focused and more others centered. Amy writes for print and online publications and is also writing a nonfiction book about serving others.

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