Little Free Library – Healey Willan Park Branch Opening!

Just dropping by the blog today to announce the opening of a new branch of the Little Free Library this time in Toronto! This one’s in one of my favourite parks in Toronto, and I am looking forward to paying a visit over the holidays.

I’ve written a few times about Little Free Libraries in Madison (hereand here). I keep noticing so many cool new ones around town. I need to go on another Little Free Library photo safari (especially because I bought a fancy new camera!). There’s the one that looks like an Arts and Crafts Bungalow, the one that looks like a church, the one with the beautiful inlaid sunburst roof, and the one that has recently gotten a second floor addition, to match the addition of its “host” house . . . Watch this space for photos, soon! And the photos will have beautiful snowy backgrounds, no doubt – we’re in for a chilly weekend. Maybe it’ll even be time to wash my wool blanket in the snow again.

Since I haven’t taken those photos yet, I’ll leave you with a photo of another library. Here’s the beautiful wooden screen that you see when you walk into the new  Central Library of the Madison Public Library. The best part? The cut-outs in the screen were re-used to make the occasional tables scattered throughout the space! If you are in Madison and haven’t visit, it’s definitely worth the trip. And if you aren’t in Madison, you can see a great gallery of photos (from the Cap Times) here .

MPL Central Screen


Little Free Library catalog #2 – Willy St. Co-op

This is the Little Free Library I peruse most often: it’s right outside the Willy Street Co-op on the east side of the isthmus in Madison. The little library box-on-a-stick is the typical model: less fancy than the two-story fancy one in my last LFL post.


When I checked this one out, on May 15, to be exact, it contained quite a variety of reading material. Not surprising at all, considering the fact that it’s located in one of Madison’s more eccentric neighborhoods (local trends include Tibetan prayer flags, front-yard veggie gardens, and hanging your baby swing from your front porch so you can sit and chat with your neighbors while your baby sails out over the flowerbeds). What was surprising was the fact that this Little Free Library has a blisteringly fast turnover. I walk past it at least once a day, and every day the selection is different. The books I found in it on May 15 had all been replaced within a few days. Does the C0-op replenish them (there is also a “take-a-book, leave-a-book” shelf inside the Co-op store), or is it all passersby?


 Here are the details:
5 issues of Spin magazine

The Amateur American, James Saunders Elmore

Simon & Schuster handbook for writers, Lynn Quitman Troyka

The challenge of local feminisms : women’s movements in global perspective 

Pretty little things

Reversible errors

Human natures : genes, cultures, and the human prospect

Next up in this series, a Little Free Library on (two) wheels.

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