Looking out my window today I’m pondering what’s known as The Little Free Library. The movements motto – “Building Community, Sparking Creativity, Inspiring Readers”. People build “Little Library” stands outside their home, encouraging others in the neighborhood to “give a book and take a book”. It started in 2009 when a Wisconsin man built a little, free library, honouring his late mother. She loved books and he decided to set up the free library as a way of encouraging others to follow in her footsteps with a love for reading. Since then thousands of Little Free Libraries have sprung up around the United States and beyond.
While I haven’t seen many such libraries in our area, I did see a picture on Instagram recently of someone in the Oshawa area who found one on her daily walk. While it’s true there are public libraries in most areas, the idea of a little library in a small neighborhood is somewhat attractive to me. Some of the Little Free Libraries encourage others to write short book reviews on file cards. The cards are left in the book for others to start a conversation about the book. It’s like book club without the meetings!
Most importantly, it seems many of the Little Free Library stations are started by kids. This is exciting on many levels. It’s exciting as kids are discovering the joy of reading. In a time when many lament the fate of children as a result of all their “screen time” on various computer devices, some children are encouraging other children to read. We live in a world where often extremes outweigh reality. It is true kids today are exposed to electronic devices like never before. However, the opposite is also true. Many parents apply a balance rule when it comes to the use of electronics. Even more kids are interested in reading than we are led to believe.
I’ve always been a reader. I’m not exactly sure where the love for books came from, but I do know one of my earliest memories is of reading. Through the years my personal library has grown to quite a size as well. During my Seminary days in Kentucky the landscape was dotted with many used bookstores! I would spend hours combing through the musty smelling books in search of a treasure or two. A few weeks ago I posted a picture on Facebook that said – “It’s not hoarding, if it’s books!” Books expand our understanding. Books unfold mysteries. Books provide an escape. Books fan the flames of imagination. Books transport us to faraway lands. Books are companions during warm summer days, or cold winter nights.
With the arrival of electronic reading devices, some wonder if books will remain. For me I have hope books will be around for a long time. After all, they show up in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In one scene Captain Kirk is carrying a book. After leaving the simulator, he met Spock and thanked him for his birthday gift and read “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” from “A Tale of Two Cities”. If books make an appearance in Star Trek, books will be around for a long time.
Even though I have a lot of books in my library, one book always rises to the top. Of this book John Wesley, the founder of the holiness movement declared – “I want to know one thing, the way to heaven; and how to land safe on that happy shore. God himself has written it down in a book. O give me that book! At any price, give me the Book of God! I have it: here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be a man of one book!”
Looking Out My Window is a regular column in the Northumberland Today newspaper located in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada.