Little Free Library catalog #1 – East Wilson and Hancock St.

Have you heard about the Little Free Library movement? It’s an organization that builds, distributes and supports Little Free Libraries, ie. small wooden houses/boxes/cabinets that contain books that are free for the taking for passersby. Since the organization got started in Hudson Wisconsin, and is now based in Madison, Madison is full of these little book-houses, but there are hundreds more around the United States, with a few in Canada: to find one near your house, check out this map.

Inspired by Mary Beth’s recent forays into examining how people use public spaces and building a proposal for a public reading gardens , I decided it might be fun to take a closer look at what’s being borrowed from Madison’s Little Free Libraries, and, perhaps, what’s being read in the city. So, with notebook and camera in hand, I’ve been going on some safaris.

Here’s the Little Free Library that stands at E. Wilson and S. Hancock Street in Madison, a few blocks from the Capitol, and right next to Lake Monona. In my opinion, it’s the most scenic free book receptacle I’ve ever seen, complete with lovely leaded glass windows!


and here’s what was to be found within:



Jacob Have I Loved, Katherine Paterson (the only one of these books I’ve read – a depressing look at a pair of dysfunctional twin sisters living on Chesapeake Bay – as a twin, I found it anti-twin in tone)

Couplehood, by Paul Reiser (I was a big Mad About Your fan, but I have never read this book)

Complete Guide to Paintball

Tough Minded Management and Reframing Organizations (I’ve noticed that the Little Free Libraries often contain discarded textbooks)

A study guide for the GRE Biochemistry exam

The Fires of Heaven, by Robert Jordan

The Lay of the Land, by Richard Ford (who was, coincidentally, interviewed in the New York Times magazine this weekend

Strictly Speaking, by Edwin Newman

The Da Vinci Code

PrairyErth William Least Heat-Moon

a number of Clive Cussler detective novels

Gaveling Down the Rabble: How Free Trade is Stealing our Democracy

Miles from Nowhere: a Round-the-World Bicycling Adventure

New Stories from the South, 2009


5 thoughts on “Little Free Library catalog #1 – East Wilson and Hancock St.

  1. I’ve been hearing about these. Think I might look into getting one. Too bad I live at the end of a quiet road. My library might not get a lot of notice. I was struck by what you said about one novel being anti twin. I am also a twin. Fraternal twin. Being born into a twin family (my parents are both fraternal twins and my mom had 3 sets of fraternal twins), being a twin is very much a part of my identity. I’ve never been struck before that literature can be anti or pro twin. I think the world is full of misinformation about twins. I’m often called “not a real twin” because we aren’t identical. Now I’m going to notice more how twins are portrayed when I’m reading. Thanks for that comment.

  2. Wow, Cheryl, I’ve never heard of a family where both parents were fraternal twins! We are fraternal twins as well; I don’t know if you’ve read Jacob Have I Loved, but it’s about a twin who is under the shadow of her sickly, attention-getting sister. The title is from the verse “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” I read it when I was about eleven, from the school library, and I remember being really hurt by the idea that the parents could be so unequal in their treatment, and by the fact that the twins had so much hatred and rivalry. It was just so foreign to my particular experience, and the twins seemed so distant from one another. In retrospect, I guess I disagree with the premise that the parents’ love was finite, and that one twin had to lose when the other gained. That is a sort of misinformation about twins! (and large families in general, I think), I did seek out books about twins when I was younger; another one I read was Home from Far, by Jean LIttle, which is about a family where one twin has died, and the family fosters another boy of the same age, and his sister. I always found it very sad (I am a compulsive re-reader), but now I realize that the premise is a bit far-fetched. The other “twin” book I can think of is Mitch and Amy, by Beverly Cleary, but I haven’t read that in a while. Cleary’s kids were twins, so I wonder if she has a more realistic idea of what it’s like.

  3. I am certain I’ve read that book (Jacob Have I Loved) but I don’t recall the details. It’s on my re-read list now. I’ve read a lot of Jean Little and Beverly Clearly (both when I was little and more recently out loud to my kids) and enjoyed them immensely. I am a huge fan of both writers. The only book I have read recently that had a twin in it was the SIsterhood of the Travelling Pants (I read everything, even kids books, especially if my kids or kids in my life are reading it). One of the main characters had a twin brother but they are not close and he warrants only a minor mention in the story. That rang true to me, as I think each twin has their own story and own life. The don’t always have to be entertwined. I’m now on a mission to write a list of books featuring fraternal twins. Thanks for the idea. Also, I’m enjoying your blog immensely. Love to hear about what others are reading. I just read John Irving’s new book, In One Person. Check it out.

  4. Pingback: Little Free Library catalog #2 – Willy St. Co-op « Bronwen reads

  5. Pingback: Little Free Library – Healey Willan Park Branch Opening! | Bronwen reads

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