Little Free Libraries

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It’s like a tool library, except with books instead of tools.

Actually, it’s a book exchange. A little home for books, usually in a street or in a hedge or attached to a fence, where anyone can get something to read at any time, for free. You can even drop the last book you finished off too! Little Free Libraries make reading more accessible AND offer a wee hub for the community to connect, share resources, and celebrate re-use!

By cultivating a spirit of generosity and thoughtfulness with each other and our things, we can all play our part in a greener, more sustainable future. 

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Find your nearest Little Free Library

Where we started

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ETL built our first Little Free Library (LFL) in the Stockbridge colonies in 2016 (where it still stands today!). Since then, we have installed many more all across the city, from Wester Hailes to Portobello and Leith to Gorgie, and we saw a particular need for book sharing during the Covid pandemic lockdown. In response to demand, we have set up a wee production line where we hope to service Edinburgh’s Little Free Library needs.

There are also many amazing Little Free Libraries made by individuals or organisations other than ETL, so you are never too far away from one. Find your nearest one using this LibraryThing page.

Every LFL has been requested by its community and has a local custodian who keeps an eye on it and fixes it if it needs a little TLC every so often.

Do you want one for your community?

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We’d love to see as many LFLs as possible on the streets of Edinburgh, but there are a few things to bear in mind to make that happen.  

1. Placement

You have to have permission to put it somewhere! This may sound daft to point out, but it’s really important. If it’s in your hedge, or on your fence, that’s fine, but if it’s attached to a post, fence or something else public, you have to get permission from the council. Please organise this before getting in touch.

2. Named custodian

Each LFL needs a named custodian. They will be responsible for managing the number of books (e.g. making sure there is only one copy of Bravo Two Zero or the Da Vinci Code at any one point) and keeping the library in tip top condition.

3. Cost (& time)

The ‘free’ part of Little Free Library is the books – building one does require funding, as the libraries cost us between £200 – £225 to make.

This money covers our workshop overheads, material, and labour costs. If you’re not able to contribute a donation, we can still make you a library, but it may take a little longer and the design and materials may be slightly different.

As a charity, we want to be able to provide as many communities with this resource as possible.

If you want one in your neighbourhood and you can pay yourself, get a grant, or fundraise in your community and donate funds towards the cost of a LFL, it means that we can keep offering this service to others who cannot afford it. For example, if you can get 10 people in your neighbourhood to contribute to help cover costs it will get built much more quickly!

If you’re a charity or the library you’ve requested will be located in an area identified as having multiple deprivations, we can make one for your community free of charge. Of course donations of any amount are always welcome!

Do it yourself!

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The other option is to make your own. This awesome resource has a variety of plans you can choose from, and if you’re a member of the Tool Library you can borrow all the tools you need.

Sponsor a Little Free Library

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If you are a keen reader or a local business, what better way to show your love for your community than by sponsoring something that enhances it?  We can paint the library in your preferred colours, and put your logo or a plaque on it too.  

Prices

We have two size options, both with optional perspex doors.

Small Library – £200 : Approximately 40cm x 30cm x 50cm interior plus roof. Two shelves. 

Large Library – £225: Approximately 50cm x 30cm x 60cm interior plus roof. Three shelves. 

Services

Libraries can be collected from ETL, or we can deliver for a small fee to cover our costs.

We can also offer installation assistance if required and are also happy to offer advice on this aspect if necessary.

Please send all enquiries to hello@edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk and we will be in touch.