The Seattle Public Library closed way back in March with the first stay-at-home order, putting the kibosh on all manner of activities at our libraries including at our own neighborhood branch on 45th St. The banner above the SPL website says the closure will last at least until May 31, the current end of King County’s Phase I, but this could, of course, be changed. (A second banner announces a closure on Monday, May 25 — Memorial Day — making it double-closed that day, I suppose.)
While libraries these days offer many activities and services, book borrowing has always been a mainstay, and now that has been shelved. But fear not! Little Free Libraries abound in our neighborhood to satisfy your inner bookworm.
I was surprised to find that google maps will produce a listing of Little Free Libraries in the area. I don’t know how it gets this information, but it’s far from complete. On a very short walk from my house, I encountered no fewer than five of these libraries without even really looking around. Not a single one of these appeared on the Googs. Folks have shown some real creativity, not to mention skill, in putting these together. See the gallery for some images from my tour.
You’re no doubt familiar with the LFL drill. It’s take a book, leave a book, although if you want to just take now and then, I’m sure no charges will be filed. I’ve pored through quite a few of these little libraries in my walks about the neighborhood. I don’t often find much I would want to read, but I suppose that would be true of most libraries. And it’s probably why libraries have so many books. There will be something for everyone!
One of our readers wrote us about his Covid-compatible LFL. Mark says:
I live on 44th between Corliss and Bagley. We’re all really missing libraries here, so I made a Little Free Library for the COVID era. Donated and browsed books go into a quarantine bag for 3 days, below, before being available to take from the usual shelves above. I added copper trim for maximum anti-microbial action, and there’s a quick no-touch finding game for bored kids.
Now eager to get some books in it to share!
On a final note, one should not downplay the relevance of SPL in these stay-at-home times. They have quite a bit available online. As Marcellus Turner, chief librarian, says in his message to patrons:
Please know that, while our buildings may be closed, we have many wonderful resources and services you can access online 24 hours a day, including a vast digital collection of books, movies and music – as well as personal online assistance. In addition, Library staff members across our city are working to deliver and develop online services and programs to help our community make it through this very challenging time.
I’ve streamed quite a few movies from Kanopy via SPL. It’s free (or perhaps you prefer to think of it as pre-paid using your tax dollars). Either way, there are no additional charges. While there’s lots to watch on Kanopy, don’t expect to see the latest Star Wars there, or any Star Wars, for that matter. For that type of content, you’ll have to resort to Netflix.
No library card? No problem! You can obtain one online. Happy viewing!