People who depend on their public libraries for materials, free internet, classes, and community have been left out in dark for the last few months. Since the start of COVID-19, many public libraries have been closed or available on a limited basis to honor social distancing guidelines. This is where the nation’s little free libraries can shine.
Little Free Libraries encourage the free exchange of books.
If you are lucky enough to have a Little Free Library in your neighborhood, or have started your own, these little boxes on street corners or front yards offer a little hope in a strained world. If you are not familiar with them, they are essentially small boxes where book lovers can grab a free book or magazine. You are also encouraged to leave behind your own book contribution. These boxes are usually outside and not located inside a building where people congregate.
The CDC is not concerned with little libraries spreading COVID-19.
With the fear of contamination, some little free libraries have shut down, but according to the Little Free Library Organization, there is no need for this. Recent data from the CDC indicates that the coronavirus is detectable on cardboard and paper for up to 24 hours. The CDC is not concerned with books or shared periodicals transmitting the disease.
However, Little Free Library owners are encouraged to clean library doors and knobs more often.
Little Free Library owners are encouraged to regularly clean and sanitize the more high-touch areas of their library. These include the door handles, doors and the bookshelves. Books can be wiped down with a microfiber cloth, but the CDC does not feel this is necessary.
A Little Free Pantry and Little Free Library in Lowell, Arkansas.
Besides libraries, other “little free” kiosks are also popping up in cities and towns around country. These include Little Free Pantries that offer free shelf-stable food, Little Free Gardens for fresh veggies, and the Little Free Toy Box for children whose family may not be able afford gifts.