Posted on: March 5, 2024 Posted by: Sarah Giavedoni Comments: 0

Last Updated on March 5, 2024

Have you taken part in the world’s largest book-sharing movement? You may have participated without even knowing it.

More than 175,000 public and private Little Free Libraries are posted in 121 countries. These boxes, ranging from strong and simple to incredibly ornate, play an essential role in community building and literacy. And there may be one (or more!) within walking distance of you now. 

Learn more about Little Free Libraries below, as well as where to find them around Western North Carolina.

What is a Little Free Library?

The Little Free Library (LFL) grassroots movement began in Wisconsin in 2009 to inspire reading, community, and creativity. LFL boxes are designed to provide 24/7 access to books in areas where they are otherwise scarce. 

While not all community library boxes are officially registered through the program, a vast number are. Many of these registered boxes sit on posts outside homes, on curbs and sidewalks, or near community centers and bus stops. Designs vary widely, but by and large, LFLs feature a clear door that opens at about eye level to a selection of new and gently used books for readers of all ages and interests.

How do Little Free Libraries enhance a neighborhood?

Little Free Libraries enhance neighborhoods, both aesthetically and on a personal level. What’s more, the values of the Little Free Library movement echo the values many aspire to in their communities: collaboration, equity, respect, and transparency. 

According to the LFL website, 72% of people say they’ve met more of their neighbors because of a Little Free Library. And 92% of people say their neighborhood feels like a friendlier place because of these library boxes. What other neighborhood feature offers such a positive response?

Next time you pass an LFL, check out the selection. Take a book from the library—either to keep or to read and return later. Or leave a book you’d like to share with others in your community.

Where can you find a Little Free Library in WNC?

The Little Free Library organization maintains an interactive map of registered LFLs around the world. In Asheville alone, more than 60 libraries appear on the map, from the Burton Street community to Haw Creek, and from Woodfin to Skyland. When available, the map lists not only the address of the LFL, but features photos and a message from the sponsor.

Many Little Free Libraries are located in residential communities, offering access to people who walk by with their family or pets. One local nonprofit, the POP Project, manages a handful of libraries strategically placed at public housing communities, bus stops, and food pantries in Buncombe County. Their goal is to provide books where there are few or none. Especially at bus stops, POP believes LFLs give local residents an opportunity to transform their waiting experience into a moment for learning or entertainment.

Outside of Buncombe County, the LFL map shows 20+ libraries in Hendersonville; six near Brevard; three each in Black Mountain, Waynesville, Lake Junaluska, and Sylva; and one each in Tryon, Chimney Rock, Marshall, Mars Hill, and Burnsville. There are also seven around Highlands and one in Cashiers. And a number of LFLs are dotted throughout rural communities in between.

However, these numbers only represent LFLs registered with the global organization. It’s likely that many more exist across WNC without appearing online. The best way to discover a LFL near you may be to explore your neighborhood and come across one in person!

Find the perfect home for a Little Free Library!

Western North Carolina is a mosaic of warm, welcoming communities. That’s one of the reasons why the region has soared in popularity in recent years! It is just as easy to discover a private rural area in Waynesville as it is an urban condominium building overlooking bustling Asheville, an artfully-designed master planned golf community in Henderson County, a home just off the upcoming Ecusta Trail in Brevard, or an historic neighborhood like Biltmore Forest.

From secluded tree-covered acreage near mountain peaks to cozy lofts in bustling urban centers, acres of pasture dotted with horses, or lakeside cottages, we help you find what feels like home. Why wait?

Contact your Allen Tate/Beverly-Hanks agent today!

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