As an avid reader, I adore the many neighborhood book exchanges that have popped up around our city in the last few years.
The concept behind the exchanges is simple: enterprising citizens build a dry storage space, usually visible from the street. Patrons are encouraged to take or leave a book (or two) as they like, which ensures a diversity of titles that rotate fairly quickly over time.
These pocket libraries not only encourage people to read—they're open 24 hours a day every day of the year, and there are no library fines to deal with—but they also foster a sense of community, providing a meeting spot for neighbours to connect and share their favourite books.
And since the libraries can also be fairly anonymous—you won't necessarily know who's leaving or taking books—no one is going to judge you if you grab, say, a dog-eared copy of Twilight to guiltily read in the privacy of your home.
Unfortunately, there's no central website cataloguing these treasures.
Some are part of the Little Free Library network, which offers tips on how to construct and curate an exchange, and also sells pre-fabricated libraries and kits that make it easier to build your own. But many are simply the work of enterprising bibliophiles who want to share their passion for books.
To that end, I'm attempting to document the myriad of pop-up libraries in Vancouver.
Here's my work in progress; as you can see, East Vancouver is well-represented:
Can't see the map? Refresh the page!
Got a favourite free library to add? Let us know in the comments section below or send locations, photos, and/or names of library stewards to firstname.lastname@example.org.