The Little Free Library program began in 2009 with one man in Wisconsin who wished to honor his deceased mother and her love of reading. He placed a small box of books on a post in his front yard and encouraged neighbors to “Take a book, leave a book” with the idea of a free, self-rotating system for sharing books.
This idea was quickly embraced and soon word spread across the state and then the nation. A non profit organization was developed and many requests come in so that as of January 2014 it is estimated that there are 15,000 boxes located throughout the world with more continually being built! There is a comprehensive website that fully explains further details and statistics at www.littlefreelibrary.org
Very basically, the concept is for readers to bring books that they have finished reading and would be willing to donate and place them in the box while they take another book home to read. Then keep repeating the process. The advantages of the little box is that it is available at any time (not just library hours), it is free, there is no library card, and no time limit on how long it takes to read the book. On the down side, there is the potential for vandalism, and of course the selection of books is limited to what is donated (not a research library).
The Little Free Library has come to Aiken through the efforts of Sandra Terry and the Sand River Woman’s Club as outlined in an article in BELLA magazine, September, 2013 (pg 8). The first little library box is placed on the corner of Colleton Avenue and Charleston Street, and the second box is placed in the Warren Ridge neighborhood.
The Greater Aiken Estates Neighborhood Association Board of Directors adopted the program with the encouragement of volunteers Judy Cross and Darlene Rittel. The Little Free Library box is located in the parking lot of Bethlehem Lutheran Church at the intersection of Whiskey Road and Hitchcock Drive .