Little Free Libraries®

Interrogating the impact of the branded book exchange

  • Jane Schmidt Ryerson University
  • Jordan Hale University of Toronto

Abstract

In this article, we critique the phenomenon of Little Free Libraries® (LFL®), the non-profit organization dedicated to sharing books with one’s neighbours. Through our engagement with the discourses, narratives and geographies of the LFL® movement, we argue that the organization represents the corporatization of literary philanthropy, and is an active participant in the civic crowdfunding activities of the non-profit industrial complex. The visible positioning of these book exchanges, particularly on private property in gentrified urban landscapes, offers a materialization of these neoliberal politics at street level. Drawing primarily upon one of the author’s experiences as an LFL® steward, as well as critical discourse and GIS analysis, we offer constructive critiques of the organization and their mission, and suggest that the principles of community-led library practice can be more effectively employed to harness the enthusiasm of these self-described “literacy warriors.”

Published
2017-04-19
How to Cite
SCHMIDT, Jane; HALE, Jordan. Little Free Libraries®. Journal of Radical Librarianship, [S.l.], v. 3, p. 14-41, apr. 2017. ISSN 2399-956X. Available at: <https://journal.radicallibrarianship.org/index.php/journal/article/view/17>. Date accessed: 21 aug. 2017.
Section
Research Articles