Have you seen these adorable tiny libraries around the city? Global nonprofit Little Free Library (LFL) is a worldwide phenomenon, having recently installed its 150,000th mini library in Lebanon, Tennessee. San Francisco alone has 50 of the tiny structures spread throughout its neighborhoods, recently bringing in several thousand new diverse books uplifting marginalized communities as part of its Read in Color initiative.
The tiny free libraries are found in all 50 states, 115 countries, and all 7 continents as a result of passionate book lovers that seek to bring free reading materials to the masses. Since LFL began back in 2009, over 250 million books have been shared. The nonprofit manages to bring books to countless people by providing 24/7 book access, granting new LFLs to high-need and underserved areas, and partnering with community organizations.
San Francisco’s Little Free Libraries can be found all across the city, from the Painted Ladies to the Outer Sunset. Most of them are created and maintained by neighbors, who make sure the libraries are clean, inviting, and well-stocked. The libraries stock everything from children’s books to adult nonfiction, and many are operated by local schools, businesses, or private homes. They generally hold between 20-100 books and operate on a “take a book, share a book” system. You can find a map of San Francisco locations on the LFL website.
This year, LFL began an initiative called Read in Color to bring a more diverse book selection to their network of tiny libraries. In San Francisco and Oakland, they added 10 new LFLs and 2,000 diverse books with voices from Black, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous, and LGBTQ+ communities. The project was accomplished in partnership with Access Books Bay Area, the African American Parent Advisory Council and the Eat. Learn. Play Foundation.
“Despite being in a city with great wealth and opportunity, many of our families—and especially our families of color—get left behind, and our organizations are united in our efforts to ensure that every child in this city gets the access to high-quality reading materials that are culturally relevant and engaging to read that they deserve,” said said Amanda Collins, executive director of
Access Books Bay Area. “Thank you so much to Little Free Library for helping us bring this great resource into our communities here in San Francisco!