In which I withdraw from LFL®

Today, I sent this open letter to the chair of the Little Free Libraries® Board of Directors to let them know that I was officially withdrawing myself and my book exchange from the organization. I left the members-only Facebook stewards group and unfollowed them on Twitter. I removed the sign from my book exchange and kluged something temporary for a re-“brand” until I can get around to making something more permanent. Maybe I’ll try and use one of them fancy 3D printers the folks at the real library have been talking up!

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 12.00.00 PM

In short, I have come to the conclusion that affiliation with a non-profit organization lead by an individual who identifies as an entrepreneur is completely unnecessary for sharing books with your neighbours. The benefits of membership (as they say) are shaky at best – vapid mail-out content on how to promote yourself and the LFL® brand, where to find cheap books and getting one’s self placed on a map are not exactly worthy of paying dues. Nothing this organization offers is something that can’t be done with an internet connection and the will of a passionate group of loosely organized people*. For the reasons I outlined in the letter, I don’t think that supporting this organization is a constructive use of my energy.

As I’ve said before, I am most certainly not opposed to neighbours sharing books with each other. It’s a lovely idea and I encourage those who want to run and unbranded exchange to do so. But libraries aren’t free, nor are they little, nor are they something to be trademarked that comes with terms and conditions. It’s a box of books for the taking, people. As simple as that.

*cases in point: here are a couple of creations made entirely independently of LFL® by individuals – it’s worth pointing out that LFL® outsources their web development.



8 thoughts on “In which I withdraw from LFL®

  1. What use is being added to a map when the whole point of these things is direct proximity to your own home? Like are people getting in their cars to drive to a LFL in a different neighborhood? If you’re doing that maybe consider swinging by… the library?
    What a goofy organisation. Bravo to you for sticking it to ’em.


    • PaulinaB says:

      Certainly, I’ve done that while road-tripping or if going to a new neighbourhood… take something to leave, hope to find a treasure to take!

      I think charging fees to ‘belong’ is ridiculous but I don’t think the map is a bad idea in the least.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pat says:

    My experience with the organization’s closed fb group (which only comes with the $40 registration fee for the lfl) was unpleasant to say the least. Though books are inherently political, the mere whiff of politics brought the admins running to shut conversations down. Religion – same response. Sadly, it became clear to me, the convos were ok if it was the right religions and the right politics. So my two new libraries aren’t registered and the banned stewards started a new group of “progressive” stewards which is growing daily. The lfl organization has damaged their reputation with most of us, and has lost word of mouth advertising and $. And we are happier without their heavy-handed and biased oversight.


  3. I actually got involved with the official lfl group because they had the best price for a nice box. I live in an intolerant neighborhood, and the officialNess of the charter number , etc, helped smooth the way. I enjoy the progessive group more. The endless talk of promotion on the official group was puzzling to me. Either your neighbors want to participate, or no. All the decorations or free bookmarks in the world aren’t going to change that.


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