Little Free Libraries are “take a book, return a book” free book exchanges popularized by the nonprofit organization Little Free Library. They typically take the form of a small wooden box of books mounted on a post in front of a home or business where passersby can easily access the books. The vast majority are maintained by sponsoring community members sometimes referred to as “stewards.”
Studies have consistently shown that young children who have access to books in the home achieve markedly higher literacy levels later in life. According to the Children’s Literacy Foundation, 61 percent of low income families do not have age-appropriate books in their homes. Increasing access to books and encouraging a lifelong love of reading, especially among children, are core values of Menlo Park Library and our nonprofit partners.
Little (Diverse) Free Libraries
This winter, many of Menlo Park’s Little Free Libraries are transforming into Little (Diverse) Free Libraries featuring stories and narratives representing a diversity of backgrounds, identities and life experience. The Little (Diverse) Free Libraries collections highlight narratives of Black and Indigenous People of Color, classic and modern stories featuring a range of ethnicities, religious and cultural traditions, gender and sexual identities and physical and mental abilities, as well as memoirs and antiracist non-fiction.
The Little (Diverse) Free Library project is sponsored by Menlo Park Library Foundation in partnership with Friends of Menlo Park Library.
The Menlo Park Little Free Library Incentive Program was designed to encourage Menlo Park residents to install and maintain Little Free Libraries on their properties by providing financial incentives (mini-grants) that covered 100 percent of the upfront purchase and installation costs at no charge to the property owner. In exchange, participating property owners were required to sign a written pledge to keep the Little Free Library on their property, curate its book collection and keep the Little Free Library in good condition.