what would they say?
After visiting hundreds of little libraries in different states, I have reviewed a range of notes taped to library windows and instructions from stewards that activate a local exchange box. I have looked for the reoccurring trends about little library messages and made a few observations along the way.
Another consistent category for little library owners relates to a concerning nature. Frequently, this is a request to limit the number of books taken to just a few, particularly in places where libraries get cleared out all at once causing dismay. It is unfortunate that sometimes firm messages are needed, but they do help establish a public standard that is reasonable. After a little library has suffered a bout of vandalism, some messages veer from a stern security warning to an appeal for mercy. These reminders tell visitors that little libraries do good work and promote a value of sharing for the whole community. Words of concern can help rally neighbors to an issue and bring the little library on a course to corrective action.
The third category of signage is inspired value statements. These are messages that embrace a general appreciation, a core cause or a kind sentiment. These posted remarks include words of global goodwill, environmental awareness, and the capacity for human generosity. These are value statements that have specific meaning to the steward and their neighborhood.
Following these types of messages, steward comments found on little libraries vary a great deal and relate to their personal set of interests. Some libraries offer a special invitation to dog owners with treats, water, and something to hold a leash. Others ask for shared words and comments in their guest books. Some invite the sharing of a garden harvest, canned goods or even painted rocks. These targeted invitations are what make little libraries work so well. It is these surprises that keeps the doors opening on sharing boxes.