Do you like to read? Do you like the idea of your neighbors reading? Does the thought of supporting child literacy make you happy? DO YOU LIKE STAR WARS? If so, you should consider supporting the Little Free Library project. Even better, make one of your own – and make Jocasta Nu proud!
A great many Star Wars fans love books. Studies show that at least seven out of ten teachers think that kids should learn to read, too*. There’s never been a better time to read about our favorite fandom. We have new novels, nonfiction books, comic books, audiobooks, books online… the list continues. We have websites about books and podcasts about books. Honestly, there’s probably even at least one podcast about websites about books… about websites… about books on websites.
Not everyone has the money, time, or inclination to devote to hunting down all the great merchandise released on “Force Friday.” So, many Star Wars fans celebrated “Mynock Monday” instead. Founded by Twitter user Natalie Verlaine, the campaign allowed fans to share low-cost or free ways to celebrate Star Wars fandom. Website Eleven Thirty-Eight published a list of great ideas, and fans worldwide posted on Twitter using the hashtag #MynockMonday. Librarians Podcasta Nu and Sarah K-2SO spread the word on sharing books, including one of my personal favorites – Little Free Libraries!
What is a “Little Free Library?”
Perhaps you’ve seen a Little Free Library in your neighborhood. They’re generally cupboards made from wood and glass atop a 4×4 post like this one below. However, if you do an image search online, you’ll find beautiful and amazingly creative work.
The idea of the Little Free Library is that everyday people set up a cupboard such as this on property that they own or can somehow influence**. They then stock it with books. Passers-by can take and/or leave those books. Our family has one in our front yard. We posted a sign on it for a few weeks to explain the concept, but it really gained traction soon enough. We do not bother to track comings and goings – too many other priorities in life for us – but we see a fairly regular turnover of titles.
Our Neighbors Love It – at least, no complaints yet
Since a lot of people in our neighborhood walk for recreation, we get quite a bit of traffic. My wife and I love to see our neighbors stop by to see what’s new. We especially appreciate our younger patrons. It’s wonderful to see kids zooming up on their bikes and skateboards, or pausing with their pups, to borrow a book.
I’m lucky that I have a great source for free older Star Wars books, so I keep the cupboard stocked with stories from the galaxy far, far away. I placed Star Wars: Starfighter of Adumar and one of my copies of Star Wars: Ahsoka*** in there recently and they were gone the next morning – so there’s clearly a demand!
I just added another armload of Star Wars books on Mynock Monday. We try to maintain a good mix of child, middle grade, young adult, and adult titles in our library so that there’s something for everyone.
(Well, something for every Star Wars fan, anyway)
We have plenty of other books in there as well, of course, but the Wars are near and dear to my heart. There are still people out there who have no idea that Star Wars is anything more than the movies and endless merchandising. I wish that I had known about books like these when I was a kid myself. Perhaps there are kids whose parents disapprove of spending time and money on these, they don’t have the means, or they’re too embarrassed to check out or buy a “nerd” book. Who knows? What I DO know is that we clearly have a demand for them in our neighborhood, and I am all too willing to share what I love with my meatspace community.
Getting Involved in Your Community
I know of a few other Little Free Libraries around us, plus others in neighborhoods that may not have the same access and privilege. After work today, I plan on loading my son up and taking a box of Star Wars novels gifted to me around to help spread the geeky love. It’s a great opportunity to share literature, create new fans, and involve my son in the act of giving freely to others. After all, aren’t Jedi supposed to aid their communities?
If you’d like to get involved, check out the Little Free Library website and follow them on Twitter. They have a map of the registered Little Free Libraries worldwide, but be aware that not all stewards choose to register their sites. (Our family doesn’t – we’re like the A-Team – you have to find us)
Even better, go for a walk in your neighborhood and see if you can find Little Free Libraries using your Jedi senses (or eyes). Take a few books with you from home to leave, and perhaps pick up some new ones in the process! Of course, you can also build your own! You don’t have to do it from scratch. There are kits available on the website, but you can be creative with recycled/re-purposed materials, too!
Until next time, thank you for reading, may the Force be with you, and remember –
This is the podcast you’re looking for!
*I completely made that up. I assume it’s ten out of ten, actually.
** There are plenty of zoning and HOA considerations discussed on the Little Free Library website. Know before you build!
*** Yes, ONE of my copies. Don’t judge! I kept the ARC and put my pre-ordered hardcover in there.