Have you seen your Little Free Library around your neighborhood? If not, here’s where you can find them.

I was walking around one day at Mission Hills Park and came across a Little Free Library and was surprised that I had never noticed one before in El Paso. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention but these are not only the cutest of mini libraries but they serve a very special purpose – to help improve literacy in the community. The Little Free Library that I ran into is just off of O’Keefe and Schuster and carried book titles that might interest anyone one young or old, everything from romance novels to educational materials.

The Little Free Library’s motto is: ‘Take a book, leave a book.’ The simplicity of that statement is what fuels the program to improve literacy worldwide. The first Little Free Library got its start here in El Paso all thanks to Lisa Lopez, the Librarian at Herrera Elementary School. Lopez first installed two of the Little Free Libraries at Zavala Elementary due to federal government cuts. Soon after, Little Free Libraries began to pop up everywhere in El Paso including twenty installed at El Paso Community College Campuses, fifteen at WIC clinics and even some at the Child Crisis Center, Project Vida, and the Center Against Family Violence.

El Paso residents who come across these mini free libraries are encouraged to participate by borrowing a book, newspaper, magazine or other reading material while offering some other reading material in return. The Little Free Libraries are open 24/7 365 days a year and are maintained individually by an appointed steward who oversees their library to make sure it’s clean and that there is enough reading material to be traded on a daily basis.

Anyone who is interested in starting their own Little Free Library in their community may do so. There are useful guidelines available to help you build a literacy friendly Little Free Library in your neighborhood.

The Little Free Libraries in El Paso are now part of worldwide movement estimated at about 12,000 libraries in over 54 countries. To find the nearest Little Free Library click here.