You may or may not know that I have three little libraries. Two for kids and one for adults. The only thing that keeps me from becoming the Crazy Little Library Lady is the fact that I close them when I go away in the winter. It’s not fair to ask someone else to shovel them out every time the snowplow goes by while I am basking on a beach in sunny climes.
Usually I look forward to opening the libraries again when I get back in March, but this year, March not only came in like a lion, it ate everything in its path. With the Covid-19 pandemic closing schools and businesses and keeping everyone indoors, the only sensible thing to do was to add my little libraries to the list of non-essential services and keep them closed too. I quickly learned that others didn’t see it that way.
Books started appearing on the shelves of the adult library. As soon as I’d take them out, more would appear time and time again. The message was clear: I don’t own those libraries. The community does and people were clearly missing the chance to drop off books they’d enjoyed or browse through ones they might never have considered reading.
That left me with two choices:
Nail the libraries shut and be done with it. Or put a bottle of hand-sanitizer in each library, disinfect them all daily and be sure to don gloves and a mask before wiping down each book and wrapping it in plastic, all in an effort to keep everyone safe.
Believe it or not, I was this close to picking option number two when I realized how ridiculous that would be. So as much as it broke my heart, I sealed the adult library and posted a firmer DON’T LEAVE BOOKS HERE sign in the window. But as I walked away, I knew I couldn’t leave it at that. There had to be something I could offer instead.
That’s when it hit me.
Why couldn’t a physically closed Little Library give birth to something else?
Like a Virtual Little Library Book Club. With more time on our hands, a Zoom meeting once a month to talk about a book we’ve all read may be just what we need.
Or how about a 4-week Virtual Little Library Writing Group. An informal way to learn about creative writing and meet others who also want to write stories and flash fiction.
Yes Virginia, those Little Libraries could carry on in other ways.
I was excited again and quickly added the following information to the poster on the library window:
During this strange time, I’m more than happy to start a book club and a small writing group, maximum of five, for those interested in writing short stories and flash fiction. Depending on interest, I’d also be pleased to start separate a bookclub or writing group for kids.
Why did I do this? Because there’s a storyteller in all of us and this may be the perfect time to reach inside and find yours.
Attendance will be free because social distancing is hard and won’t get easier as time goes on. Finding ways to connect is more important than ever right now and this is my way of reaching out.
So, as the sign in the Little Library window says, if you’re interested in joining a virtual bookclub or writing group, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Naturally, I can’t offer these things forever, but I’m very pleased to offer them now.
Stay well and hope to connect soon.