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