The Joys Of Little Free Libraries I Oxford Open Learning

    Little free libraries

    The Joys Of Little Free Libraries

    Everything we have comes from books. While we all have varying opinions on the quality of different texts, literature has established a global understanding that the exchange of ideas is sacred. Whether it’s our media or our science, it all starts with the written word.

    However, we’re now living in a time where public libraries are being closed by councils to balance the books. Campaigners fight on to reverse these decisions. Even should they fail, the love of reading will never fade.

    Humbly championing the wonder of books from the sidelines is the Little Free Library. These small libraries look rather like bird boxes, but instead of housing our winged friends, they instead store books. A non-profit American organisation is the catalyst for getting Little Free Libraries set up around the world. However, people do set them up independently, too!

    So, beyond their obvious charm, what else is there to love about the Little Free Library? How could they benefit you as a homeschooled student? Read on for more information.

    The Spirit Of Giving

    Much like ordinary libraries, Little Free Libraries have a rather generous rule system in place. However, there are some differences.

    The books in ordinary public libraries are stocked by committee. Accession librarians might be charged with that task, or there might be a library board and directors who have final say over which texts make the cut.

    By comparison, Little Free Libraries are kept stocked by their users. While it’s not mandatory to leave a book to take a book, most regular Little Free Library users abide by a ‘give and take’ system in the spirit of fair play. It keeps the catalogue evolving and the community thriving.

    You don’t need a library card to take a book from a Little Free Library. There are no fines for late returns, either, as it’s not mandatory that you do return the book (though obviously it’s hoped and recommended that you do). The entire system is unsupervised and reliant on human kindness.

    There have, of course, been reports of people ‘stealing’ (can you really steal something if it’s free?) from Little Free Libraries. After further investigation, however, many of these cases involved people who’d take the books from the library and distribute them in their retirement communities or schools. So, even then, it’s a win, as the texts are still being shared rather than sold.

    Range Of Choice

    Choice is vital for avid readers. It’s great that you can search through the catalogue of your local library online, but it’s not always ideal to have a long list of titles to wade through.

    Little Free Libraries are admittedly quite small, hence the name. While the selection of books is limited day-to-day, the books on offer are always brilliant. People feel strongly enough about them to recommend them to their community. There’s a finite amount of space for offerings, too, so people won’t clutter it with sub-par or random texts.

    A small selection means the books are on constant rotation, too. A total overhaul of the catalogue can be quite an exciting prospect and keep you on your toes as a reader. You may also feel more compelled to give a book a try if you also have the knowledge that it’s only there for a limited period.

    As you might know already, public libraries also have offerings in film, music, and even books for those with dyslexia, for instance. Well, Little Free Libraries similarly have a range of other media to explore.

    If you visit a Little Free Library, there’s a good chance you’ll come across free films, codes for free Audible audiobooks, and free music in the process. Obviously, the extent of the offering depends on what your community deems fit to share, but all the same, there should be a selection of stuff to peruse. Typically, the films and music shared will have some relation to a literary text. Still, even if you’re not the mood to read a book, Little Free Libraries still have something to offer.

    Outdoor Reading

    Who doesn’t love a spot of outdoor reading? In the warmer months, it’s practically an essential activity! Little Free Libraries are predominantly located outdoors. They can be found in all sorts of places, from the middle of walking trails to long-term mooring sites for canal boats. Some can be found in parkland, too, or beside beaches.

    You don’t need to worry about the Little Free Library rotting away against the elements, or having gnarly bugs inside, either. The person who setup the Little Free Library is its designated volunteer steward, and it’s their responsibility to ensure everything is in excellent condition. Obviously, no one would setup a Little Free Library if they weren’t passionate about the concept, so they’re nearly always very well looked after.

    Finding The Right Little Free Library

    There are many Little Free Libraries dotted around the UK and elsewhere. However, only some of them may pique your interest. For example, there are dedicated Little Free Libraries for young children only. They all have unique painted designs and encourage little kids to read outside with their parent or guardians. They’re typically found near their schools and play parks. Still, if you have younger siblings, it may be a good idea to introduce them to Little Free Libraries!

    However, other Little Free Libraries are geared more towards teens and adults, too. To find the one you’re looking for, you can download a free app that shows you the location of any Little Free Library in the world. There’s a web map too! If you find a little red pin at an area near you, then you should be able to find a Little Free Library at that marker. It’s also worth mentioning that Little Free Libraries are available to use 24/7. So, don’t worry about opening and closing times aligning with your schedule.


    There’s a lot to love about Little Free Libraries. They foster a sense of community and ensure everyone has access to books and other media. It doesn’t matter how much time, money, or privilege someone has, or even what age they are – anyone can use them. For that, Little Free Libraries will always have a special place in the hearts of many!


    If you are interested in studying English or English Literature, Oxford Home Schooling offer you the chance to do so at a number of levels, listed below. You can also Contact Us.

    English Key Stage 3

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    English Literature IGCSE

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    I'm a freelance copywriter with an undergraduate degree in English Literature. I've written for many different outlets, including but not limited to marketing agencies, graduate recruitment websites, and online training companies. I've even interviewed a few famous actors for student and arts blogs too! Covering a wide span of material has been incredibly rewarding, as I get to turn my experiences in the arts, education and careers into helpful advice. I sincerely hope you'll find something to your liking here!