Little free libraries fill the gap left by public libraries closed since March

Local libraries have been closed since mid-March in Waterloo region, leaving avid readers with only their own bookshelves to browse for the better part of two months. 

Some are turning to e-books, or organizing book swaps with friends and family members, but little free libraries are also seeing a surge in popularity. 

“The ones that are still going are going like gangbusters,” says Tom Nagy, who founded Little Libraries of K-W.

“For some people it’s business as usual. For other people they’ve closed it, and then there’s a large middle ground of folks who have put out hand sanitizer, people who wipe it down every single day.”

Nagy estimates there are now between 250 and 300 little free libraries in the region.

A few, he says, have even turned their little libraries into food pantries. 

“I think people are starting to think out of the box — or out of the little library — you might say, and have come up with innovative ways of responding to community needs through the library that they already have on their front lawn,” he said.

You can see some of them, on the map below. 

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