Reposted a post by Altadena Library DistrictAltadena Library District (Facebook.com)

A top priority for the Altadena Libraries is to reach populations that are historically underserved and increase access to library services and resources. A multitude of issues can limit people from accessing literacy tools, so homegrown, community-driven initiatives like Little Free Libraries (LFL) are ideal channels through which to provide access to books and other literacy tools. Chris Aldrich is a steward of his own LFL #8424, and as a champion for Little Free Libraries in Altadena, he keeps books in his car to "pollinate" other libraries he sees. Talking with library staff, he noted that throughout the pandemic, he has been surprised and encouraged to see people walking to LFLs with their children and reading books on the spot, transforming LFLs from just quick pick-up locations to actual reading destinations.

After learning about the Altadena Zine Library, Chris decided to create a zine listing all Little Free Libraries in Altadena, both those officially registered with LittleFreeLibrary.org and not, with photos and locations for Altadenans to explore! As the Altadena Library District and the Friends of the Altadena Library work together to steward surplus book donations and as the District’s mobile library program gets rolling, library staff will draw on on Chris’ vast knowledge and passion about the Little Free Library movement to support the inventories of Altadena LFLs, reach underserved communities, and potentially even build new LFLs! #NationalLibraryWeek2021 #NationalLibraryWeekinAltadena

Photo clipped from the Altadena Libraries newsletter featuring a street view of the blue Little Free Library #8424 boxSnapshot of Chris Aldrich in a plaid shirt next to Tod Bol wearing a white shirt

PICTURED:
- Chris’ very own Little Free Library
- Chris (left) and founder of the Little Free Library movement Todd Bol (right)

I suspected they were going to do something, but just hadn’t seen it yet. The Altadena Libraries have featured me in their newsletter this past month for some of my Little Free Library work.

Altadena Library zines and “Books I’ve Loved in 2020”

I just put a handful of copies of Altadena Library‘s new zine Books I’ve Loved in 2020 into our Little Free Library for the neighborhood to enjoy. I’d gotten a preview copy a week ago and loved it.

In addition to our neighborhood LFL, you can find it at the local branches of the Altadena Library (they just re-opened for curbside pick up today) and at select Little Free Libraries around Altadena.

If you love zines, they’ve got a collection of others to check out. They’ve also been hosting a regular zine workshop on the third Saturday of the month. You should be able to pick up a zine kit for the next meeting, which I’m hoping to attend. Maybe I’ll put together a zine featuring some of our local neighborhood Little Free Libraries?

Checked into Altadena Public Library - Main
First person in line for the re-opening of the Altadena Libaries curbside pick up after they’ve been closed for a while due to the pandemic lockdown.

This also means I’ve managed to snag the Orion StarBlast 4.5″ Altazimuth Reflector Telescope! Their Library of Things options are fantastic and it’s great that they’re able to loan out so many useful items. I can’t wait to do some enhanced stargazing this week.

Orion Starblast 4.5" Altazimuth Reflector Tabletop Telescope on a small table with instruction manual next to large yellow hard carryingcase

I also picked up a copy of Encyclopedia Brown: Tracks them Down.

The library also donated a box full of children and YA titles and a dozen copies of their new Books I’ve Loved in 2020 zine to put into Little Free Library #8424.

fanned out display of five copies of the Altadena Library zine "Books I've loved in 2020"

Acquired Star Wars Origami: 36 Amazing Paper-Folding Projects from a Galaxy Far, Far Away... by Chris Alexander (Workman Publishing)

Kids love origami--and what could be cooler than transforming a piece of paper into Boba Fett, Princess Leia, Yoda, or R2-D2? And not just any paper, but custom-designed paper illustrated with art from the movies. Star Wars(R) Origami marries the fun of paper folding with the obsession of Star Wars. Like The Joy of Origami and Origami on the Go, this book puts an original spin on an ancient art. And like Star Wars(R) Scanimation(R) and Star Wars(R) Fandex(R), it's a fresh take on Star Wars mania.

Chris Alexander is a master folder and founder of the popular website StarWarsOrigami.com, and here are 36 models, clearly explained, that range in difficulty from Youngling (easy) to Padawan (medium), Jedi Knight (difficult), and Jedi Master (tricky!). A front section introduces origami definitions and basic folds. Bound in the back is the book's unique folding paper, two sheets for each figure. Illustrated with original art, it makes each creation--the essential lightsabers, the Death Star, and much more--true to the movies.

Star Wars Origami includes a foreword by Tom Angleberger, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Strange Case of Origami Yoda and Darth Paper Strikes Back, and is scheduled to be published at the same time as Angleberger's upcoming book, The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee.

Look what I found hiding in our Little Free Library! This is awesome and will give us hours of fun through the holidays.

Little Free Library #8424 is Back in Business

Late this morning I finished building and installing a brand new Little Free Library on Harding Avenue between New York Dr. and Berendo St. in beautiful Northeast Altadena, CA!

Last year, we decommissioned our trusty old library after more than four years of service because one of the doors fell off and it need more significant repairs than we were able to provide. Now, just in time for our fifth anniversary next week on July 28th, we’ve replaced the library with a beautiful new model that should last for the next several years.

Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy the books. Please take the appropriate precautions with physical distancing (one patron at a time please), and follow recommended guidelines for hand-washing.

Currently there are a variety of books: fiction to non-fiction, children’s board books to adult fare; classics to contemporary; and paperbacks to hardcovers. Many are either new or generally very lightly used. Come today to see what we’ve got that may be of interest you. There are even some free erasers for little readers.

And remember our general guidelines: Take a book. Leave a book.

Acquired Two Story Shed Blue Little Free Library (Little Free Library)

The Two Story Shed Blue Little Free Library is handmade by craftsmen in Wisconsin and Minnesota. This little library box is weather-resistant, long-lasting, and would make a great addition to any neighborhood.

$349.95

Key Features:

  • Durable little library design made from pine and plywood with a metal roof for extra water protection
  • Popular two-story design with an adjustable shelf for extra book storage
  • Arrives completely finished, assembled, and ready for installation
  • Handcrafted in America by Amish artisans

Details:

  • Weighs 40 lbs
  • Exterior dimensions: 22.5" tall x 14.5" deep x 17" wide (Roof overhangs 1" on all sides of the library)
  • Interior dimensions: 14.5" wide x 21" tall x 12" deep
  • Installation materials (post, post topper, and installation hardware) not included
  • View our Returns Policy.

Official registration and standard charter sign included with your library ($39 value)! They're your key to our World Map, exclusive Facebook stewards group, and other helpful offers and activities. Choose your sign with the drop-down box above. (Charter sign ships separately. Spanish and French signs available in Silver only.)

Special offer! Save 10% with promo code JULY2020 at checkout. Offer is good through July 14 or while supplies last.

Okay, it’s been far too long since I had to decommission my original Little Free Library. So for my birthday today I’ve ordered a new library. It’ll be about two weeks and we’ll be back in business!

I’ve been tempted to build or up-cycle something like I did last time, but I also wanted to support the mission of the non-profit, so I’m considering the overage on my purchase to be a donation to the cause. Plus, this one looks pretty cute even if it’s a bit smaller than my last library.

I’m really enjoying the fact that my website has an On This Day feature now. It’s nice to be reminded of interesting things I’ve done or things I’ve bookmarked and meant to read, but haven’t yet had the time. It also makes me want to pull in more data from older services to have a longer timeline for it.

Incidentally, Happy Anniversary to my Little Free Library which is celebrating its third birthday in a new location.

City of Los Angeles and Little Free Library Executive Director Honor Local Library Stewards

Little Free Library #8424

About two years ago, I registered Little Free Library #8424 and a year and three months ago it opened up with a just a few books to serve the Adams Hill neighborhood in Glendale, CA. Along the way during the intervening time, we’ve had almost 500 donated books go through our humble metal doors. In addition to our local library, some of our donated books also go to help seed several dozen similar libraries in surrounding communities, many of which are considered book deserts, meaning that there are few outlets (public libraries, school libraries, or bookstores, etc.) for books or reading available to people in those communities. As a result, and unsurprisingly, the literacy rates in these neighborhoods are not as high as they should be.

A Surprise Invitation

Several weeks ago I was pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation from Little Free Library stewards and founders of The Literacy Club, Doug and Jean Chadwick, who said they would be hosting a steward meet-up for people running Little Free Libraries in the Los Angeles area.

Little Free Library & The Literacy Club Presents:  An evening with Todd Bol

Come meet Todd and your fellow stewards for an evening of fun! You’ll get to talk Little Libraries and books, enjoy snacks, beer, wine and soft drinks, and swap stories with everyone in attendance.

Part of the motivation for the event was because Todd Bol, co-founder and executive director of the Little Free Library movement was coming to Los Angeles on Thursday, November 3rd.

The Little Free Library outside of the Chadwick's home with The Literacy Club's van behind it.
The Little Free Library outside of the Chadwick’s home with The Literacy Club’s van behind it.

It seemed like a great excuse to meet some of my fellow library stewards in the area and swap stories, and exchange advice.

Little Free Library #50,000

At the time I didn’t know that Todd was coming out to the West coast from Wisconsin in part to celebrate the unveiling of Little Free Library charter number 50,000 in Santa Ana, California, the day after he met with us. To help put the growth of the movement into perspective, remember that I registered library #8424 about two years ago.

Chris Aldrich, steward of LFL #8424, meets Todd Bol (right), steward of LFL #1.
Chris Aldrich, steward of LFL #8424, meets Todd Bol (right), steward of LFL #1.

The Literacy Club

As I was to discover when I arrived, Todd came not only to meet several library stewards in the Los Angeles area but to help honor all our efforts. In particular to honor the efforts of the Literacy Club which has helped to set up and run over 50 Little Free Libraries in the Los Angeles area including in hospitals, various neighborhoods, and every police station in the city (except two, which are on their to-do list). They’ve also built and host libraries in Ohio and Wisconsin as well.

I was very impressed with their efforts and even a tad jealous that I hadn’t thought to set up dozens of libraries like this, though trust me, the amount of work involved is no small potatoes–it’s obviously a full time hobby and then some.

As a small comparison, I opened up Little Free Library charter #8424 a year and three months ago, and we’ve had almost 500 books move through our library; the Literacy Club is moving thousands of books a month!

Awards

Paul Krekorian, Councilmember of the Second District of the City of Los Angeles, had sent a Certificate of Appreciation to present to The Literacy Club for all of their fantastic work in the city. Our little soiree included a lovely presentation by Field Deputy Sahag Yedalian (who was representing Krekorian’s office) to the Chadwicks for their work on The Literacy Club’s behalf.

Sahag Yedalian representing Paul Krekorian's office presents a certificate of appreciation from the City of Los Angeles to Jean and Doug Chadwick for their work on The Literacy Club's behalf.
Sahag Yedalian representing Paul Krekorian’s office presents a certificate of appreciation from the City of Los Angeles to Jean and Doug Chadwick for their work on The Literacy Club’s behalf.

Shockingly to me, after a whirl-wind presentation, I too had such a lovely certificate in my hands!

20161103_210324 After catching my breath, I was a bit sad that the certificate wasn’t made out to the Little Free Library #8424, which is really the true recipient of the honor. While I did do a good bit of work to put the library together and erect it in front of my house, it really is the neighborhood and community that do all of the work in supporting and using our Adams Hill treasure. So I’ll take a moment to say thank you to all my neighbors and friends in and beyond Adams Hill in Glendale for supporting our neighborhood Little Free Library.

Paul Krekorian, Councilmember, Second District, City of Los Angeles
in Certificate of Appreciation presented to Chris Aldrich on behalf of Little Free Library #8424 on November 3, 2016

 

Many other LFL stewards in attendance were also presented with certificates of appreciation for their help in seeding book deserts in the surrounding Los Angeles areas.

Sahag Yedalian representing Paul Krekorian's office (left) presents a certificate of appreciation from the City of Los Angeles to Executive Director Todd Bol on behalf of the Little Free Library organization.
Sahag Yedalian representing Paul Krekorian’s office (left) presents a certificate of appreciation from the City of Los Angeles to Executive Director Todd Bol on behalf of the Little Free Library organization.

Swapping stories

During the evening it was great hearing some stories and ideas from many in the room. In particular it was nice to hear the story of Little Free Library #1 that Todd built and thereby started the growing movement of book exchanges.

It was also interesting to hear his philosophy of treating the Little Free Library organization as a “reverse franchise” set up. Most franchise operations perfect the concept of their business before spinning it out into thousands of locations. He prefers to have a few interesting ideas to put out into the community, which is likely to be wildly more creative and perfect those ideas or come up with incarnations and offshoots that the small staff at headquarters couldn’t have possibly created. Then, once perfected, headquarters can help disseminate the ideas to everyone and everywhere else. I though this was great advice for non-profit organizations like this.

Also at the party, I also got to meet the President of the Burbank noon Kiwanis Charles Chavoor  who was present to show support for The Literacy Club and their efforts. The Kiwanis there are funding a large Little Free Library to be dedicated shortly.

We also got to hear advance news about a major pending announcement for which we were all embargoed until November 14th, so you’ll have to wait until then for more details.

Todd also shared some of his work in growing the Little Free Library movement in Indonesia as well as several partnerships including the U.S. Army which is stewarding a large number of libraries.

Little Free Library Stewards from the Los Angeles area enjoy several stories at the party. (Photo courtesy of The Literacy Club.)
Little Free Library Stewards from the Los Angeles area enjoy several stories at the party. (Photo courtesy of The Literacy Club.)

Doug Chadwick shared a somewhat heartbreaking story based on his volunteer experience. He said that an unintended consequence and benefit of putting Little Free Libraries into police stations around the city is that police stations are often the site of court mandated child exchanges between divorced parents who don’t always get along or respect each other. At least while waiting during drop offs and pick ups, the children who are caught in the middle are able to sit down and not only read a book or two while they wait, but they can take them home with them as well.

Doug also shared a previous story of receiving the Little Free Library’s “Master Builder Award” and Todd indicated how rare these original Amish planes were to be able to establish such an award.

The Little Free Library Master Builder Award which had previously been presented to Doug Chadwick.
The Little Free Library Master Builder Award which had previously been presented to Doug Chadwick.

The Book Room

When I came to the party, I thought it would be a nice gesture to bring a book or two from my own library for the hosts or to swap with some of the other stewards. I noticed that a few other attendees did the same. Our gracious hosts also had the same idea, but, like the Literacy Club with its grand mission, they managed to pull their version off in even grander style.

As I was leaving, I was invited into The Book Room. Now, I’ll preface this with the fact that I’ve been into the offices and stock rooms over more than a dozen nice sized specialty book shops. The book room in the Chadwick’s home handily put most of them to shame. I was immediately surrounded by shelves with hundreds of stacks of books each with a dozen or more copies of the same book all waiting to be pulled off to create restocking boxes for any of the various Little Free Libraries around town that The Literacy Club stewards.

While I often try to have lightly worn or like new books in my library, every book in this room was brand new and sure to make a proud treasure for the thousands of children who were soon to receive them. It’s exactly the kind of room every library steward dreams of having in their own house.

I was thrilled to be sent home with not just one box full of books, but three boxes. Thus Little Free Library #8424 will soon have some new children’s selections, and, much like an early Santa Claus, I’ll be dropping off many books at some of the surrounding LFLs in the Eagle Rock, Glendale, South Pasadena, and Pasadena areas to spread the wealth and cheer and help continue seeding libraries nearby.

In the meanwhile, I’m dreaming about how I might be able to add on an additional room to the house for books…

Thanks

Thanks again to The Literacy Club and to Doug and Jean Chadwick, who have impossibly edged me out as the #2 most enthusiastic Little Free Library steward after Todd Bol. And thanks again for hosting such a lovely little party to bring us all closer together. I’m glad to know I’m not alone in my love for what we’re all doing. I’ll be in touch shortly about volunteering some of my time to The Literacy Club’s efforts.

Thanks also to The Little Free Library organization which provided guests with lots of great items like The Little Free Library book, buttons, book marks and more.

And finally, thanks yet again to all my friends, family, and neighbors who help to support Little Free Library #8424.

Would you like to help?

You can help in a variety of ways from donating your lightly used books, volunteering your time, starting your own library, or even making a financial contribution. We welcome your help and know that it will help make our communities better one book at a time. After seeing some of the excellent work that The Literacy Club is doing, you could also help support their GoFundMe campaign.