Little Free Library’s Top 10 Stories of 2020

By Margret Aldrich

In a year full of challenges, we were lifted up by the kindness and generosity of the stewards, patrons, and friends in our Little Free Library network. As we close the book on 2020, we’re looking back at the year’s most meaningful stories. Here are our top ten:

10. This Little Free Library at the South Pole is the First in Antarctica

Antarctica’s only Little Free Library. (Photo by Yuya Makino, Ice Cube Project. Courtesy of Russell Schnell.)

There are now Little Free Library book-sharing boxes on all seven continents thanks to Dr. Russell Schnell, a NOAA scientist and co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

9. Read in Color: Announcing Little Free Library’s Diverse Books Initiative

A young reader peers inside a Little Free Library at the Read in Color launch in Minneapolis.

Inspired by George Floyd, we launched a new program to bring diverse books to neighborhood Little Free Libraries across the country, in partnership with Colle McVoy. You can get involved by signing the Read in Color pledge!

8. NFL Steeler Cameron Heyward Is Bringing Little Free Libraries to Pittsburgh 

Cameron Heyward won an NFL award for his work with Little Free Library. (Credit: NFLPA and Athlita Comics.)

Cam Heyward was awarded the NFL Players Association’s (NFLPA) Community MVP Award for establishing his first of several Little Free Libraries in underserved Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

7. Our 2020 Todd H. Bol Awards for Outstanding Achievement

Little Free Library steward Kiara Bose Roy of Mumbai was one of our award winners.

We were delighted to honor five Little Free Library stewards and one organization who embody the spirit of the LFL community. (Keep an eye out for the 2021 call for nominees!)

6. PBS Kids and Little Free Library Team Up for Story-Times

Dwyane Wade read his wife Gabrielle Union’s book “Welcome to the Party.”

With read-aloud videos from Dwyane Wade, Tim Gunn, and more, our summer reading series with PBS Kids was a whole lot of fun for everyone!

5. 2020 World Literacy Award Presented to Little Free Library

The World Literacy Award was presented to Little Free Library by the World Literacy Council.

It was humbling to receive this year’s World Literacy Award in recognition of our commitment to increasing book access for all.

4. Awesome Bookish Partnerships 

The Chicago Block Box Project created Little Free Libraries and mini-pantries for their neighborhoods.

We were grateful to work with some amazing organizations this year to help increase access to books. A few of our favorites included the City of Albuquerque, which partnered with us to promote community volunteerism; Hallmark Publishing, which worked with us to give away 1,000 paperbacks; Literati, which is sharing kids’ books in Austin; the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, which is receiving a portion of profits from our special PanCAN library and sign; and the Neighbor to Neighbor Literacy Project, which has built dozens of Little Free Libraries for Chicago.

3. Kindness Isn’t Cancelled in Little Free Libraries

A Little Free Library stocks toilet paper during the pandemic.

As the pandemic shut down schools, restaurants, stores, public libraries, and more, many Little Free Libraries were able to safely stay open. In them, people began sharing food, face masks, toilet paper, and other essentials to help neighbors in need. We created a Sharing-Box Map to help track these beacons of generosity.

2. Little Free Library Grants 100 Book-Sharing Boxes

A turquoise Little Free Library full of books was granted to 100 sites serving children.

In recognition of a Little Free Library landmark (see story #1 below), we granted 100 no-cost Little Free Libraries in an effort to keep books in kids’ hands during the pandemic. In total, we have granted more than 1,250 libraries to underserved neighborhoods through our donor-driven Impact Library Program.

1. Celebrating Our 100,000th Little Free Library!

The world’s 100,000th Little Free Library can be found in Houston.

Just before COVID-19 shut down the world, we were thrilled to introduce the 100,000th Little Free Library. This very special library was granted to the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans in Houston via our Impact Library Program. Thank you for helping us reach this major milestone. Here’s to more book-sharing and community-building ahead!

To help launch us into 2021 and share books where they’re needed most, please consider a contribution to the Little Free Library nonprofit organization. Donate today!

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