Little free library and floating library offer fun ways of accessing books

A bookstore or a library, that is what most people think of when they want to find a new book to read. Books can be expensive, and borrowing one from the library means trying to remember a return date. So, where can you get a book other than at the library or bookstore? Here are two fun and alternative ways to do that.

The Little Free Libraries at St. Kate’s were built in 2012 by the student chapter of the Progressive Librarian’s Guild, a St. Kate’s graduate student group. One is located at the entrance of Gate Two. The other one is situated across the parking lot from the Butler Center. The little libraries are currently filled with a variety of books with titles such as The Wedding Heard Around the World; America’s First Gay Marriage, and The Husband’s Secrets.

Amy Mars, Information Literacy and Outreach Librarian, was one of the staff members that was involved with the project.

“David Lesniaski, Associate Professor of Library Information Science, physically built it,” says Mars. “We weren’t very handy and David was much better!” With the help of Lesniaski, and the approval from Facilities, the mortar was poured and the libraries were erected. “It’s really neat because you can share books with the community,” Mars adds.

Courtesy Amy Mars

Amy Mars, Information Literacy, and Outreach Librarian, visiting The Floating Library.

The Little Free Library is a non-profit nationwide organization, with the motto of, “Take a book, leave a book”. According to their website, there are more than 50 thousand little libraries in the US and in more than 70 countries across the globe. There are over 30 that can be found in St. Paul alone. A map of the little libraries and more information can be found on their website by clicking here. Also on the website are instructions on how to make and register your very own little library. Each library is unique and can have its own theme.

The Floating Library is a new wonder that has hit Minnesota. Now that the weather is getting warmer and the waters are opening up, The Floating Library will soon become an option. It is a collection of artist-made books and print located on a floating on a custom made raft on a lake. This raft can only be accessed with a boat, canoe, or kayak, or other watercraft. The Floating Library was created by Sarah Peters, who is an artist, writer, and art administrator.

Bookshelves surround the wooden raft. The librarians sit in the middle of the raft and assist readers as they approach the raft. The shelves feature numerous books in plastic bags. There is a book for everyone and the titles range from children’s books to adult novels. The Floating Library has a staff that helps facilitate the checkout process and helps people find books.

The Floating Library, true to its name, floats in a different lake each year. For its first year, it debuted in Cedar Lake in Minneapolis in 2013. The following year it floated in Lake Winona. In 2015 it was featured at Silverwood Park in the Three Rivers Park District. Last year it was located on Lake Phalen, in St. Paul.

The Floating Library has even ventured outside of Minnesota. In Feb. 2016 the library took a retreat from the Minnesota cold and went to Los Angeles, California for a weekend. The raft floated in Echo Park Lake and was part of the Los Angeles Art Book Fair.

For updates on The Floating Library and to see where it will be this summer, click here.

You now know of two more options if you are looking for a new book to read. The Little Free Library dotted across Minnesota offers a unique collection of books courtesy of the public. The libraries are small so you are not overwhelmed with the problem of having too many books to choose from yet hold a good assortment of books. Some libraries are even catered to a certain group of readers, like children. In the summer you can combine your love of outdoors and watercraft with books by accessing The Floating Library in a Minnesota lake. Besides, what sounds better on a hot sunny day than kayaking out to a floating library, with a jug of lemonade by your side

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