Big Milestone for Little Free Library: 50,000 Libraries Worldwide

By Margret Aldrich

Today we’re celebrating a major landmark: the 50,000th Little Free Library!

Little Free Library No. 50,000 has been placed at the Illumination Foundation, a homeless shelter in Santa Ana, California, where there is only one public library and no bookstores for more than 335,000 residents.

The free book exchange was made possible by our Impact Fund, a program that provides no-cost Little Free Libraries to communities where they can be catalysts for positive change.

This story is only one example of how communities benefit from Little Free Library’s Impact Fund. Other recipients include a family in Illinois who is committed to “rebuilding a broken city one block at a time,” and a vice-principal of a school in a Georgia town where thirty percent of the residents cannot read.

Imagine what 50,000 more Little Free Libraries can accomplish! You can help sponsor a Little Free Library where it can truly make a difference or apply to receive a Library for your community.

The 50,000th Little Free Library, which stands at the Illumination Foundation, was applied for by Marytza Rubio, founder of the Makara Center for the Arts.

“Makara Center for the Arts seeks to increase access to arts and culture in our community, and libraries, including Little Free Libraries, are part of those efforts,” noted Ms. Rubio in a press release.

“We’re starting at the Illumination Foundation because in Orange County our homeless population is our most vulnerable and many of them are children,” said Ms. Rubio. “Shelter residents have little access to books and the Little Free Library can address that need.”

The 50,000 Libraries that stand around the world may be small, but they make a big impact. We estimate that 50,000 Little Free Libraries cumulatively amounts to 36,500,000 books being shared in a year—that’s 10 million more than the New York public library system! We also estimate that 50,000 Libraries result in 600,000 neighbors meeting each other for the first time.

“We call it the Impact Fund because that’s the goal—we want to substantially improve our world—and so does the Makara Center,” says Bol. “We are thrilled that our 50,000th library will be at the Illumination Foundation and part of such a wonderful mission.”

Celebrating a Milestone

How is the Little Free Library staff celebrating the 50,000th Library? By reflecting on the meaning of the Little Free Library movement and the fabulous stewards and friends who have helped us get here.

It’s exciting to be part of something that is so little and so big at the very same time—all Little Free Library stewards, supporters, friends, and staff are collectively responsible for the incredible growth and impact of the movement. One darling little box of books is novel; 50,000 is significant proof that as a whole, we really do care about our neighbors and our communities. At its core, Little Free Library is about love and sharing and bringing people together and raising each other up. That’s why I’m proud to be part of the movement.

Shelby King, director of administration

Little Free Library is more than cute boxes of books. Along with placing our 50,000th Library, we’ve established a global network of stewards, built partnerships with publishers and literacy organizations, and developed programming that leverages the power of sharing books to bring communities together.”

Todd H. Bol, creator and founder

With 50,000 Libraries, we can see how a community can become a book-sharing network, linked by individual book exchanges.

John Pearson, marketing and communications director

I do believe something very magical can happen when you start a Little Free Library!

Megan Hanson, web, marketing, and communications guru

Please join us in bringing Little Free Library book exchanges—and some of that magic—to neighborhoods where they can inspire readers, spark creativity, and strengthen community ties. Donate to the Impact Fund here.

Thank you to our stewards and supporters. We are celebrating with and because of you!

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