While strolling through the wilds of Regent Square last summer, I discovered what looked like a little birdhouse perched on a well-manicured lawn. But the little house was filled with books, and above the door was a sign that read “Little Free Library.” Although my own neighborhood is located near four wonderful libraries (C.C. Mellor, Swissvale, Wilkinsburg, and Squirrel Hill), the idea of a personal lending library in my front yard sounded like a great idea. And so, with a little amateur carpentry and an armful of books:
photo provided by author
Little Free Library Charter #3059 is open for business in Edgewood!
You can purchase a library already constructed or download blueprints to build your own. We currently have ours covered with lights for the holiday season, but we have plans for a spring remodel if and when the snow finally melts.
Example of the pre-built Little Red British Phone Booth Library
Our library has been a wonderful way to clear out our overloaded bookshelves, meet some new neighbors, and pass on the joy of reading. We’ve had some anonymous donations of books and magazines as well, left behind by generous passers-by. I’m happy to report that our biggest “movers” are children’s and young adult books.
The Little Free Library organization has, as part of its mission, a goal to build more than 2,510 libraries around the world–more than Andrew Carnegie–and then even more. Happily, the original goal was reached in 2012 with libraries throughout the United States, Germany, Canada, Ghana, Pakistan, Haiti, Lithuania, and many other countries. Interested? Visit their website for information on how you can become your own library director, or donate a library to an underserved community anywhere in the world.
Back in July, I took my family on the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) Western Region Farm Tour, a “behind-the-barn” look at local food production. We got to see loads of produce, take a hayride to see pasture-based cattle, taste delicious local cheeses, and even feed alpacas. And those were only four of 20 participating farms.
The tour was a great introduction to the work of PASA, our partner in this Saturday’s Sustainable September program. We’ll be screening Ladies of the Land (watch the trailer), followed by a panel discussion featuring several local lady farmers, including Jen Montgomery from Blackberry Meadows Farm, Lucinda Hart-Gonzalez from Paradise Gardens and Farm, and Leah Smith, Member Services Coordinator of PASA. The program starts at 3:00 pm and will be held in Classroom A at the Main Library.
The library has plenty of other resources to investigate and learn about food production. To start, check out Our Daily Bread (watch the trailer), a visual essay on industrial agriculture, or The World According to Monsanto. For something a little more upbeat and closer to home, try The Grange Fair: An American Tradition (watch the trailer). On Thursday, September 17, we’re partnering with Slow Food Pittsburgh to screen Slow Food Revolution and discuss the growing slow food movement. Another good one might be Milk in the Land, also screened earlier this year as part of our Real to Reel Documentary Film Series.
And those are just some of the documentary DVDs. We have lots of other media on sustainability and related issues, and, of course, plenty of books too. If you’d like to find more, or if you’ve been inspired to start producing your own food, check out our Take It Slow lists, especially the film list, or check with a librarian.