FAQ

  1. How can I borrow a book from a Little Free Library
  2. Do I have to return a book I’ve borrowed from a Little Free Library on a certain date?
  3. Aren’t you worried that someone might steal books from the LFL?
  4. Do people actually return books to the Little Free Libraries?
  5. Where do the Little Free Libraries get their books?
  6. What kinds of books do the Little Free Libraries collect?
  7. How do I donate my books to the Little Free Libraries?
  8. Why don’t you collect other media like CDs, DVDs, etc.? Why only books?
  9. How did the Syracuse Little Free Libraries get started?
  10. Are you going to build more LFLs on the Near Westside?
  11. What if I have an idea for a location for a new Little Free Library, or I want to build my own?
  12. Little Free Libraries are in public spaces. Won’t someone vandalize them?
  13. What are the SYR-LFLs made of?
  14. Who can I talk to about the Little Free Libraries?
  15. Who are the partners involved in this project?
  16. Where can I find photos of the little free libraries?
  17. How do I host a book drive?

Q. How can I borrow a book from a Little Free Library?
A. Visit one of our locations and see what’s available! Books are free to take, no library card required.

Q. Do I have to return a book I’ve borrowed from a Little Free Library on a certain date?
A. No. Books from the LFL are yours for as long as you’d like to keep them. That could be a week, a month, or the rest of your life.

Q. Aren’t you worried that someone might steal books from the LFL?
A. No. You can’t steal a free book!

Q. Do people actually return books to the Little Free Libraries?
A. Yes! We’ve seen a number of books come back and go out again in the hands of another reader.

Q. Where do the Little Free Libraries get their books?
A. All books at the LFLs have been donated. Sometimes people bring their own books that they’d like to share, sometimes they buy them specifically for the LFL. We also receive some monetary donations which we use to purchase more books.

Q. What kinds of books do the Little Free Libraries collect?
A. We collect a wide variety of books from a number of genres. Click here to see a breakdown of the genres we collect. For a more comprehensive view of the books we’re collecting, you can see our collection development policy here.

Q. How do I donate my books to the Little Free Libraries?
A. If you have a small number of books you’d like to donate, feel free to stop by one of our locations and add them to the LFL directly. If you’re interested in donating a large number of books, please contact us first, or see our Donate page for more details.

Q. Why don’t you collect other media like CDs, DVDs, etc.? Why only books?
A. There are a number of reasons for this. Other media (CDs and DVDs in particular) are much more easily damaged to the point of being unusable by regular wear and tear than books. Additionally, the Little Free Libraries were created with an eye toward promoting literacy, so these other media lie outside our original mission.

Q. How did the Syracuse Little Free Libraries get started?
A. The SYR-LFLs were inspired by a similar project (also called Little Free Libraries) based in Wisconsin. See our About page for more details on the origins of our project.

Q. Are you going to build more LFLs on the Near Westside?
A. We want to give our three current locations time to really take root in the community before making that decision.

Q. What if I have an idea for a location for a new Little Free Library, or I want to build my own?
A. The Little Free Libraries in Wisconsin have plans and instructions you can use (free!) to build your own (or order a pre-built structure from them). If you would like to connect a new LFL with the existing SYR-LFLs on the Near Westside, contact Maarten Jacobs at mjacob01@syr.edu.

Q. Little Free Libraries are in public spaces. Won’t someone vandalize them?
A. So far, the SYR-LFLs have seen one act of vandalism, but very minor damage was done, and the LFL was repaired within a matter of days. It is now functioning as good as new! In all honesty, you can’t entirely prevent vandalism, but placing your LFL highly-visible, traffic-heavy locations can discourage it. The Wisconsin LFL project has a more detailed and very helpful answer to this question that you can read here.

Q. What are the SYR-LFLs made of?
A. The short answer? Re-purposed pay phone kiosks, with doors, shelves and lights added. Centered around existing, unused telephone kiosks, our units are made of aluminum with a clear acrylic door. The aluminum has a high recycled content, and will not rust as it is subjected to weather, and the acrylic door allows users to peruse the books before they even open the door–an important consideration in what is often a rainy part of the world.  To learn more about the design process and how we developed the prototype, check out this blog post!

Q. Who can I talk to about the Little Free Libraries?
A. At our Contact Us page, you can view who to reach for press inquiries, organizing book drives, and general questions.

Q. Who are the partners involved in this project?
A. You can view a list of our partners here.

Q. Where can I find photos of the Little Free Libraries?
A. We have a page dedicated to photos from the project here. You are free to take and use these images, licensed under the Creative Commons.

Q. How do I host a book drive to benefit the Little Free Libraries?
A. The LFLs will seek the bulk of their book donations through book drives in the spring. If you would like to host one of these book drives, check out our guide on how to host a book drive.