Monday, December 21, 2015

Little Free Library Update and My Diversity "Problem"

I wanted to post some updated info about my Little Free Library, though there is not too much to say. I posted the library in October. I know that there has been at least a little bit of usage out of it because a few books have appeared on the shelves.  One was a very large historical text that had been ripped down the middle and was held together by a rubber band. I left it; who am I to say that someone wouldn't like it!? I'm not keeping track of what I put in there so I don't know if anything has been taken. 

I love seeing the LFL when I leave the house and when I get home every day. Here are a few updated pictures. It's holding up well so far with the weather. We get a lot of wind where we are. We get a lot of snow, too, so we will see how it fares against its first Rochester winter hell.


My friend who built my library told me that sometime people are confused about whether they can actually take a book for free. Maybe I'll put a sign in the window: FREE BOOKS! And see if that gets things moving a little more. It's also getting cold, so the natural flow of traffic is going to plummet, soon. 

An interesting thing I've been thinking about as a LFL steward: diversity in the books I'm offering. I live in a small lily white village town. I'm not just saying that. According to the 2000 census and wikipedia: "The racial makeup of the town was 96.53% White, 1.35%African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.74% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.29% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.37% of the population." 

So, this poses an interesting thing to think about because I have a number of books that were donated that were written by and depict on their covers people of color. This is a great problem to have, actually, as I want to be able to offer a range of books, but I also don't want to be the Black Little Free Library. I don't think it would be seen as useful to the community I live in. I'm not even sure that I am saying this right. The truth is, though, that majority people tend to see things as not really for them if the demographics don't look or sound like them. It makes sense for a lot of social science reasons. My LFL diversity problem is not limited to race: I don't want to be the Chick Lit library or the YA library, either. Those are the other types of books I have more of than others. I'm just super aware of the "race" problem as the only Black person I've seen on my street.

Additionally, I have a number of donated books that are very technical or profession- specific. Should they go in there?  

And what about the romance novels with sexy people on the cover and raunchy sex scenes? I cannot be the steward of the Smut Little Free Library! I mean, I could... but I don't want to!

I would totally read this book, though. Seriously. 

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