Stuff Happens On Dad’s Watch

Enticing the Community with Literacy

Article Sarah Wolcott | Photography Gary Calicott

Any given day, people walk to catch a bit of exercise before work, stroll down to the nearest watering hole for a glass of wine, or simply to enjoy the views. Luckily, in a handful of Central Oregon neighborhoods, there’s a new reason to take to the streets. Little Free Libraries have begun popping up, each offering locals a chance to borrow—or loan—a book.

Little Free Libraries are small boxes—many of which are made from recycled materials—standing by the curb, containing books for free exchange. The “take a book, return a book” program has become a global literacy phenomenon. In the six short years since the inception of the Little Free Library program, over 36,000 registered Little Free Library exchanges have been placed in all 50 U.S. states and in over 70 countries around the world.

“The program puts books in the most unexpected places,” says Bend resident and Little Free Library steward John Sweet. “I had a grandmother stop by and tell me when her grandkids are in town, our Little Free Library is the place they want to visit, first.”

Central Oregon’s list of Little Free Libraries grows each week, many of which are clustered on the west side of Bend.

“The Little Free Library program is very neighborly,” says son-of-a-librarian Robert Tucker. “We have built a community of book lovers with the Little Free Libraries here in Central Oregon.”