It’s been a big year at Little Free Library! In 2017 more than 15,000 registered Little Free Libraries were welcomed into the network, bringing the total number of registered Libraries around the world to more than 65,000.
As 2017 comes to a close, we’re looking back on the year’s brightest highlights and biggest surprises. Here are six of our favorite stories:
In January Little Free Library introduced a new program, the Action Book Club, which combines reading with community service. Since its debut, hundreds of groups have signed up from across the country (and around the world!) to read and discuss books together, then carry out fun projects to benefit their communities. Learn how you can join, too!
This summer Little Free Library creator and executive director, Todd Bol, was profiled in USA Today‘s series “I Am an American,” which introduces readers to exceptional Americans who are making a difference to unite, rather than divide, our communities. (We think this recognition should be shared with Little Free Library volunteer stewards everywhere.) He also was a guest on public radio’s 1A hosted by Joshua Johnson.
U.S. Girls Scouts have established more than 500 Little Free Libraries. To honor their achievements, Little Free Library founder Todd Bol built Little Libraries with them in Los Angeles and spoke at the Girl Scout National Conference, in Columbus, Ohio. There he presented Girl Scouts USA with an award and custom Little Free Library and introduced a patch program for scouts. To top it off, Little Free Library donated 20 Little Free Libraries to Girl Scouts for their home communities.
Little Free Library was honored to receive the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Second Century Prize, awarded to a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy and fosters lifelong reading. The prize celebrated the WNBA’s Centennial and was presented at a ceremony in New York in October. Thank you, WNBA!
This year Little Free Library donated 100 Little Free Library book exchanges to U.S. police departments in an effort to connect officers with neighborhood youth. The initiative is part of our Kids, Community & Cops Program. In addition to 50 traditional Little Libraries, we gifted 50 Mobile Little Free Libraries, which ride along in squad cars so officers can give books to kids when on patrol. The Minneapolis Police Department was one of the first agencies to embrace Mobile Libraries.
In 2017 we were proud to provide more than 350 Little Free Library book exchanges at no cost to communities where they can make a difference in reading motivation and community connectedness. The Libraries were distributed to applicants, Girl Scouts, law enforcement agencies, steward nominees, and nonprofit partners through our Impact Library Program.
Many of these Little Libraries were made possible by a generous grant from the Lawrence Grauman, Jr. Trust, which allowed us to bolster the Impact Library Program and provide books and Libraries where they’re needed most. (But there’s still work to be done. Learn how you can help here.)
We’re grateful to have shared 2017 with you, our Little Free Library stewards and supporters. And we can’t wait to see what happens in 2018!