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Free Little Libraries foster community book exchanges during pandemic2 min read
June 10, 2020
With many local libraries forced to close in ordinance with COVID-19 mandates, Little Free Libraries have replaced the experience of a normal library.
Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that has built a community of fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. The process is simple: take a book, leave a book, or return it to a book box in someone’s front yard. Children nearby the little library have taken advantage of this free service, and are able to take as many books as they want.
“I love reading a lot and I’m sad that the library is closed,” said Jared Leonard, 9, elementary student. “I come here every day to see if there’s new books.”
The Bay Area has hundreds of registered Little Free Libraries and is a resource of finding books until public libraries begin to reopen.
Each little library is unique and filled with books and other items such as magazines, notes and canned food.
Anna Chang, 36, event planner and mother also said that her son came across a book that he wanted to read.
“My husband was teaching our son how to ride a bike and my son came across this little free library in our neighborhood and saw a book that he really wanted to read,” said Chang. “We’re here to return a book and get another one.”
Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure safety to anyone who comes in contact with the library, all Little Free Libraries have a routine cleaning performed by their stewards.
This includes disinfecting handles and other surfaces, which is essential for allowing book exchanges to continue.
Some libraries have even taken half the door off to prevent touching multiple surfaces.
Although, due to safety precautions, some stewards on the Little Free Library map have temporarily closed their library.
Chang said to ensure her son’s safety, she has a cleaning procedure for each book that he chooses.
“The books that my son reads are usually children’s books with a few pages so beforehand I make sure that they’re sanitized before he reads them,” she said.
It is unknown when public libraries will be able to reopen, and until then, these small libraries have become a temporary solution.
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