LibraryThing members have banded together to add all known “Little Libraries,” including Little Free Libraries®, BookCrossing Zones™, the Dutch project “Minibieb” and others to LibraryThing Local, LibraryThing’s index and map of over 87,000 bookstores, libraries and other bookish places. Members have already added 749 of them. A slew of new features supports the project.
Check it out:
- Little Libraries near you
- Little Libraries around Washington, DC
- Zoomed-out map of the same
- Little Free Libraries entered so far, by country and state
- BookCrossing Zones entered so far, by country and state
- Join the effort!
A long-time member, SqueakyChu, recently requested that we add Little Free Libraries (LFLs) to LibraryThing Local. Apparently the LFL people have been unable to keep up with all the new libraries, and have fallen months behind. Their own map is also limited compared to LibraryThing’s robust feature set. And having LFLs in LibraryThing Local would allow LibraryThing members to discover them, as well as users of our Readar iPhone app.
If you don’t know, Little Free Libraries is a grassroots movement sweeping the country and the world. “Stewards” build or buy them, set them up somewhere, often in their front yards, and fill them with books. Visitors take and leave books as they wish. BookCrossing, around since 2001(!), is a similar concept, encouraging and tracking the free exchange of books from reader to reader. Books can be released “into the wild” anywhere, but “BookCrossing Zones” (BCZs) are special spaces set up to facilitate this exchange.
We’ve discussed similar efforts before, and approached both organizations for a feed, without success. We’d love to work with either or both, and will (of course) share our data. But we’re not going to wait. We want people to know about these great projects, and all the other informal sharing libraries out there. So we jumped in. Before releasing it, we had our “Board for Extreme Thing Advances” group to work on it, and they added almost 700 venues, and worked out all the conventions we needed.
- Your LibraryThing Local page now summarizes how many Little Libraries are nearby with a link
- The same goes for location pages, like this one, for Rockville, MD
- Those go to corresponding pages for Your Little Libraries and Little Libraries near Rockville, MD
- Full page maps are available
- Little Libraries directory lists all the types memmbers have entered
- The directory drills down, for example Little Free Libraries and Little Free Libraries in California
- Adding a new venue allows you to choose “Little Libraries” and the type of library. Venues can belong to multiple types—for example a combined LFL and BCZ.
How do I add venues?
If you’re interested in adding Little Libraries, here are some resources:
Little Free Libraries
- Members have set up a Wiki Page, recording what states and countries have already been entered, and which haven’t
- Check out the discussion topic, where members hash out conventions and trade tips
We’re still figuring out how to find and add all official and unofficial zones. If you’re interested, join the conversation.
“Little Libraries” is for small collections of every type, not just book exchanges. The Dutch projects MiniBieb and Boekspots are closely analogous to Little Free Libraries, so they fit. But, as I’ve written before, cities and towns throughout the world are filled with such collections, from coffee shops to churches, from community centers to advocacy groups. At present we’re focusing on fully “public” venues, but the many types available to choose from means it can all go in, with suitable filters for what you want and what you don’t want.
Come Talk about this project.