Christine Gale Reynolds once worked at the Yosemite National Park’s public library before it closed down in March to slow the spread of COVID-19.
So, she started her own mobile library by filling the back of her car with lots of donated books. She said that she doesn’t know if this step is ethically sound, conventional or legal, but it worked for so many people. She makes sure to physically distance while sanitizing books and making her stops.
Across the U.S., volunteers are seeing a surge in free little libraries as people look for things to do to pass the time. These libraries are usually made of brick or wood, and then placed in car trunks or in front of parks. Whether it’s “Macbeth” and “Love in the Time of Cholera” or children’s books, these libraries offer some interaction outside people’s homes.
Since the year 2009, thousands of free little libraries have showed up in the United States, and over 100 more countries. The little spaces operate with the help of volunteers and donations. In some rural areas, where the internet is sparse, these small libraries may be the only place to find a good novel.
Back in March, a Free Library nonprofit group based in Hudson, Wisconsin introduced its 100,000th book-sharing box. It was donated to a historic, Latino community in Houston.
The free small libraries have become so famous in recent weeks that the Little Free Library group released recommendations on keeping the areas clean by using quality disinfectants and following the guidelines of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
John Sweet, who oversees a free library at Bend, Oregon, said that they have definitely witnessed a surge. He said some volunteers check their library on a weekly basis. Moreover, the selection of books is always different from the prior week. At times, there are even jigsaw puzzle books.
Janelle Will, who is from a small farm village in Michigan, said that their area of 300 individuals doesn’t have its own public library. However, their free library is always busy. She said that she uses Lysol on the books right before placing them in the library.
Only about 1,000 people reside in the Yosemite Valley where entertainment choices are limited. Some of its residents say that Gale Reynolds’ mobile library, as well as her friendly chats, give them their much-needed break.
In a mountain community located at Placitas, New Mexico, the small free library outside the food co-op was filled with “Better Call Saul” DVD copies thi month. This is the prequel to the popular show “Breaking Bad.” which was shot in nearby Albuquerque. Boston’s small libraries in black neighborhoods had household supplies and children’s books.
If you’re interested in reading more about restoring California’s trees, click here.