By: Diane Stirling
Several images of Syracuse’s first Little Free Library were shown on NBC Nightly News on March 10, in a story covering how the trend of the “Take a Book, Return a Book” informal libraries are catching on across the country and even around the world.
The pay-telephone housing that comprises a Little Free Library in Syracuse, and another image of the community leaders and Syracuse University students who partnered on the project, were part of a more comprehensive story about how the founders’ idea of a small-scale book exchange is becoming an increasingly popular community phenomenon. In Syracuse, the project is a collaborative effort between Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, (iSchool) the College of Visual and performance Arts, and residents of the Near Westside neighborhood.
Anchor Lester Holt introduced the story with an observation that reflected the changing state of community libraries, noting, “as some libraries begin to disappear across America, neighbors are using pop-up libraries to fill the gap.” Reporter Rehema Ellis spoke to project founders Todd Bol and Richard Brooks about how their idea took root in Wisconsin, and how the little library structures are building community interest and spirit, aside from their original purpose. Brooks observed that the libraries are “No longer just about books; their primary function is to bring people together, promote a sense of community, and wow does that work.” The report pointed out the attraction of borrowing print books from the little libraries appeals to young readers, and how even for students considered “masters of the Internet age, a wooden box with books inside can still excite.”
The Little Free Library on Gifford Street has proven similarly popular. In its first four weeks of operation, 120+ books were borrowed by readers, according to the iSchool. An initial book drive was conducted in February, and another is planned in April.
Watch the video: