It seems as if all of a sudden, every time I log into facebook or twitter, there's a new item about micro libraries. What is a micro library? According to this post, a micro library is a community curated outside library of free books. They can be located in mailboxes, cars, former phone booths, any available space easily accessible on or from the street. There are now different groups devoted to establishing these micro libraries throughout the US and I've even heard of a few outside of the US.
One such group is the Little Free Library; they have installed hundreds of micro-lending stations, largely on private properties around the United States and Canada. They also provide instruction in starting your own.
As I understand, these micro-libraries are not trying to replace traditional public libraries, but supplement. They are completely volunteer and donation based, community run and often innovative. While they lack the resources and support of a traditional library, the collections are eclectic, the hours are often 24/7, often no card is needed, and sometimes they're available in areas where traditional libraries are not.
I love libraries, and I love that in the US, libraries are free; you borrow a book, get to read it, return it and there's no fee. There may be fees for other services, depending on your library, but the access to a large collection of books, for free....it's an awesome concept. But even the traditional public library has it's drawbacks and it seems like the micro-libraries have the potential to supplement and fill needs that the public library can't. I'm delighted to see them spring up and I hope they continue to grow and flourish.
For more info and some pics of micro-libraries, try here, here, here, and here.