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Life Arts    H3'ed 5/21/13

Little Free Libraries: A Community Builder for the Future?

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Around each LFL neighborhood friendships sprout up like wild flowers. More than books are exchanged. The Little Free Libraries help community members to network with each other. The library becomes a community or neighborhood center. Indeed, according to Todd, people find that those that borrow books oftentimes leave goodies like cucumbers, plants and flowers in exchange for a wonder-full trip into the creative imagination of an author. How appropriate!! What are books if not food for thought? Thus, cucumbers are an appropriate "thank you" for giving one that inseminating priciple that books tend to give us. Of course, each person that is encouraged to take a book is also encouraged to leave a book.

The LFL system thrives on reciprocity. What a revolutionary concept! Could it be that "Little Free Libraries" are seminal to the generation of local commuty empowerment? Could this intensive intimacy of taking part in a natural process of relationship be an answer to the corporate "divide and conquor" mentality that has us bonded to the divisive mechanisms of television and computer screens? How much longer do we remain complacent and compliant with maintaining a zombie state of indoctrination? Could it be that Little Free Libraries are significant markers along the path towards reclaiming our freedom as well as fostering a sense of belonging and purpose in a community that includes not just people, but the entire ecosystem of which we are a part? Reciprocity among all members of an eco-system is much more prevalent in nature than competition. The fittest are those who fit in the best, not those who stand out and try to dominate the others.

The Little Free Library started when Todd decided to honor his mother soon after her death through building a Little Free Library. His wife June helped out by putting on a yard sale. As people came to the library, Todd states he found people talking to the LFL s as if they were a newly born puppy, hugging them, and sharing photos of family and friends taken with them.

As the buisness of doing a Little Free Library is organic, then so is how it developed. In essence, after the initial LFL was "planted" 7,000 libraries have taken ground across the world. That's almost triple the number they needed to fulfill their goal of matching their hero, Andrew Carnegie, in library building. Indeed, the statistics have 500 -- 700 new libraries being added per month. That's 500-700 more community or neighborhood centers or gathering places per month! Could we be experiencing the rebirth of the village green?

Mm, as I think about this, I wonder about supporting community theaters, concerts, etc to take us out of the corporate controlled arenas such as record labels and chain book stores. Think of how less alienating it is to go to a LFL and talk about one's passion vs pressing an order button on! Indeed, it appears that Little Free Libraries are holographic reflections of Transition Towns, Permaculture Gardening and other movements that kindle community, family, neihbor helping neihbor, and self reliance while diminishing the reliance on megalithic corporations and government.

In Global Warming and your Mental Health Alicia Sparks states:

If you keep up with news that's related to both your mental health and the environment, you might have stumbled across this Boston Globe piece: Climate Change Takes a Mental Toll. In it, Emily Anthes describes the mental toll events like global warming and natural disasters can take on us. The anxiety, trauma and depression such events (and even the possibility of such events) can cause some people seriously impacts the quality of their lives.

To that I would add that climate change is but one part of the holographic (or is it hell-ographic?) pattern inherent in constant worldwide warfare, high crime rates, corporate and government corruption, and the deterioation of well functioning communities and families. All these modern plagues, threatening us and our beloved earth, are part and parcel of one movement toward hell-on-earth. Climate change is related to our sense of alienation which is intimately related to our commercialism and our being dominated by corporate powers that have a stranglehold on the government. Our perception these global powers is that we are powerless in the face of their megalithic wealth, military might, and mass-media control. But, as programs such as the LFL teach us, we do indeed have power within ourselves and within our communities. Grassroots DO split concrete!

Our hands have an interesting build that reminds us where the power lies. If we point our finger outwards towards Capital Hill or towards Wall Street, we find that we have 3 fingers pointed right back at ourselves. The design of our hand's is God and Nature's way of saying we have the power, not those external to us. Those same hands can begin building new LFLs and other neighborhood structures and systems in the same vein. The power is within us within our communities. Legislating businesses to do good just doesn't cut it anymore. Being power-full in one's self and community is the only way to reclaim power.

The saying "Think global, act local" is not only true for growing and buying one's own food, but also for how we interact in our natural and human communities. The phrase refers to everything from food to reading to education to health care. As books can be a part of a local community--brought down to accessible, affordable, sustainable scale--so, likewise, can doctors, artisans, courts and education. Thus, LFLs are holographic reflections of a movement underfoot that has had an influence on science, spirutal teachings and philosophy. As these human-scaled, ergonomically designed, grassroots innovations proliferate, more people will become able to see the connections and understand the holographic patterns in how we relate to Nature and to each other. Perhaps, then, we can move beyond the "divide and conquer" ethos can make way to "unite and prosper." Prosper how? Dare we look at how much our materialism costs us in the deeper human values of feeling connected to self, family, community and Nature?

It is unfortunate that most people refuse to see religion according to its epistemological roots, which is religere, meaning to connect. Religious institutions, as they now stand. iare the furthest thing from true religion that one can get. The true form of religion is in programs like the Little Free Library. It is not religion in terms of its spouting a philosophy or theology. Rather it is in the development of community and the intimacy of a mind-enhancing read. Let's go back to "wherever two or more are gathered together in my Name." Would a good place for that be on your front lawn or at your nearby intersection? Would a good "temple" be your unique design for a Little Free Library?

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Little Free Library Staff by Little Free Library


Interview with Todd on Envision This!:

To contact Todd regarding building and maintaining a Little Library: 715-338-2223
Todd's email:
Email address removed

Little Free Libraries:

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Burl Hall is a retired counselor who is living in a Senior Citizen Housing apartment. Burl has one book to his credit, titled "Sophia's Web: A Passionate Call to Heal our Wounded Nature." For more information, search the book on Amazon. (more...)
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