How To Open Your Own Public Library

We opened our own public library this week. On our lawn. It’s modest in size but made us part of a worldwide network called Little Free Libraries. Books have played a huge role in my life – always an enthusiastic reader and my first jobs were at a hometown public library and then a local indie bookstore. So when my daughter noticed these curious boxes on people’s lawns all over SF filled with books, we leapt to support her curiosity.

Turns out Little Free Library is nearly 11 years old and started with one guy in Wisconsin! Now there’s a global network of people who buy or build their own, for installation at their home or business. You fill it with books and encourage people to take or leave their own. Some folks are very creative with their designs (Instagram).

Decentralized communities supported by technology – I spent much of my product management years helping to strengthen platforms that encouraged these types of relationships. In an era of political tribalism and ‘glass half empty’ views of the Internet (yes there are some very real problems but…) I find great optimism and hope in observing and participating in these efforts. And now I finally have somewhere to put those copies of Sapiens and Ray Dalio’s book that I never actually read.