Friday, January 19, 2024

Little Free Libraries provide great community resources

By Kendra Raymond

Have you noticed random decorated boxes on lawns around town? Maybe you are already a “Little Free Library” patron? Whether a newbie or seasoned consumer, everyone can reap the rewards of this free book opportunity right in our community.

A Little Free Library is shown in a Raymond
neighborhood. The concept is growing in
popularity across the Lakes Region because
of its simplicity and resident interest in
A Little Free Library is a permanent structure, located at a home or in a public area. Each is filled with books that have been donated. The premise is that you can take a book and leave a book. However, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to this book resource. So, if you need books, or have extras, it is all perfectly acceptable.

The Little Free Library website explains their purpose as a mission is to be a catalyst for building community, inspiring readers, and expanding book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led Little Free Library book-exchange boxes.

“Our vision is a Little Free Library in every community and a book for every reader. We believe all people are empowered when the opportunity to discover a personally relevant book to read is not limited by time, space, or privilege. This is accomplished by providing book access 24/7, encouraging new libraries to open especially in high need areas, supporting diverse books, and engaging community partnerships,” a website statement reads.

Former Raymond resident Cinda Roy started the Hawthorne House Little Free Library in Raymond back in 2018 which includes a separate library for children’s books. Roy has since moved away, so several other residents have stepped up to keep an eye on it.

Hawthorne House Trustee Ed Kranich built the original structure.

“The library is maintained by me and a few other Hawthorne House trustees,” Kranich said. “There is not much involved with maintaining it. I check it periodically and if there are not many books I put some more in there.”

How do I find one?

The first step is to visit the LFL website, or better yet download the App. It is easy to enter the town you’d like to search for using the magnifying glass icon at the top of the page. The system will show a map of the area, with pins pointing to each library, including the address. At present, there are three listed in Raymond and Casco and several located in the Windham area. It is also possible to come across a LFL that has not been registered in the system. Don’t forget that there are Little Free Libraries everywhere. When travelling, it can be fun to explore what LFLs in other towns may have to offer.

Do I need to share a book?

Nope, it is completely acceptable to simply select the books you want and take them. Kranich says that some people who take books from the library replace them, but it isn’t mandatory. However, a good LFL patron should be responsible and replenish libraries when you are able. Most everyone has a few books lying around collecting dust that could be moved along for someone else to enjoy. Kranich said that one of the tenets of the Little Free Library is “take a book, leave a book,” so that’s a good mantra to keep in mind.

What types of books?

The books you will find in a LFL can vary quite a bit. While some locations have themes, most include a variety of selections. Oftentimes, you will see fiction, non-fiction, biographies, cookbooks, or children’s books – the possibilities are endless. LFL believes in the importance of offering diverse books as well to grow our understanding and empathy.

What if I’m interested in starting one?

It is a fairly simple process. Begin by choosing a safe and legal location that is easy to access. Next build or purchase a library enclosure. You will need to register your Little Free Library and purchase an official charter sign. Then, by setting up your steward account, the library will be up and running and located on the map. Now spread the word.

“I think it’s been a good thing,” Kranich said. “Encouraging people to read more books is a good thing.”

Here’s some great resources as you get started:

Little Free Library website:

Download the Little Free Library mobile app:

Check out LFL on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. <


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