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Free Libraries are not always free


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Not sure about other areas but in my area a Free Library can cost the home owner in permit costs. I've heard some pay $600 to have one in their yard. Why am I talking about this? I've seen cachers put caches in these libraries. But did they get permission from those who owned them? These are on private property and just because they tell people they exchange books doesn't mean they want someone to put a cache in their Library. There is one in Berkeley and someone put a cache in it. The cache went missing, the CO disabled it, recently they enabled it and it went missing again. I wrote to the CO and asked them if this was their Free Library, and if not did they ask permission to place a cache there, if not maybe they could ask the owner if it is okay to put a cache there. This maybe why the cache keeps going missing. I never got a response back.

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We own a Little Free Library and the point is that it's free for people using the library... not the ones who put it there. There are fees for the "charter" and sign, plus of course materials and labor or a ready made library, books, etc. I can imagine that you would need local permits in some places, too.

 

Ours is on public property at a town building... it required multiple presentations at several town council meetings over months to get permission for the LFL and cache. We couldn't have put it at our house because there's no place to pull over in our rural area.

 

If someone put an "unauthorized" cache or Letterbox in our library (really anything that was meant to stay in the library permanently... we rotate the entire stock of books regularly to avoid a stale selection), we wouldn't be happy. We seek these caches out and I do think we have found one or two without clearly stated permission and the cache owner is not the LFL owner. I don't know the usual maintenance plan of an LFL owner, but I would expect that they would find a cache they didn't authorize within a month or two.

 

That said, we love owning the LFL even though it was costly and lots of work. We have associated book swap events right there. Having the Letterbox and cache in there (both fake books) has been rewarding and well received. We didn't know we would want to add the Letterbox or we would have made it a hybrid from the beginning. I believe ours was the first one hosting a cache in our state.

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When it comes to "Little Free Library Caches," Geocaching HQ has asked the Community Volunteer Reviewers to confirm that the cache owner either owns the Library, or has obtained permission from the owner of the Library.

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We own a Little Free Library and the point is that it's free for people using the library... not the ones who put it there. There are fees for the "charter" and sign, plus of course materials and labor or a ready made library, books, etc. I can imagine that you would need local permits in some places, too.

Wow. We enjoy finding these, but I had no appreciation for the cost involved until now.

 

As cool as they are, I am glad we opted for a big ammo can in the woods for our book exchange cache, as it was cheap as free.

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I wrote to the CO and asked them if this was their Free Library, and if not did they ask permission to place a cache there, if not maybe they could ask the owner if it is okay to put a cache there. This maybe why the cache keeps going missing. I never got a response back.

 

I would take that as a definite NO, they do not have permission.

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I ask this in total seriousness.. do the Free Libraries actually get used in the originally intended manner? Since I live in the Twin Cities, they're ALL OVER THE PLACE. I drive by several of them every day. I know its anecdotal and I know anyone visiting can be in and out in minutes. But I never personally see anyone actually using them.

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We own a Little Free Library and the point is that it's free for people using the library... not the ones who put it there. There are fees for the "charter" and sign, plus of course materials and labor or a ready made library, books, etc. I can imagine that you would need local permits in some places, too.

Wow. We enjoy finding these, but I had no appreciation for the cost involved until now.

 

As cool as they are, I am glad we opted for a big ammo can in the woods for our book exchange cache, as it was cheap as free.

 

Our library is 3 wide shelves and the books are sorted into kids, nonfiction, and fiction. It's kind of cool that the whole community uses it as well as just cachers. It sits outside the senior center/town offices/community center. We like walking up (half a mile from our house) to see what's found its way into the LFL. I have enjoyed caches with trade themes, but our library functions differently than a standalone cache could.

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I ask this in total seriousness.. do the Free Libraries actually get used in the originally intended manner? Since I live in the Twin Cities, they're ALL OVER THE PLACE. I drive by several of them every day. I know its anecdotal and I know anyone visiting can be in and out in minutes. But I never personally see anyone actually using them.

Both sides of the coin... whenever we travel, we seek these out, and trade the book we were reading for a new one. I think we hit about six in CA and about eight in NH on our last visits. Sometimes we carry boxes of books to add to those which have depleted stock. They almost always seem to receive plenty of attention even without a cache. That said, there is one in a bad part of the city that is perpetually empty. We found another in NH that was cleaned out, too.

 

Our library probably has 15% turnover on its own, without our help, every week or so. We often see people using it, both cachers and non-cachers.

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I ask this in total seriousness.. do the Free Libraries actually get used in the originally intended manner? Since I live in the Twin Cities, they're ALL OVER THE PLACE. I drive by several of them every day. I know its anecdotal and I know anyone visiting can be in and out in minutes. But I never personally see anyone actually using them.

 

I've used the ones in my area. I haven't found anything worth reading, though.

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It could be the library owner cleaning it out, or considering that the libraries are used by many non-cachers, it could just be that non-cachers find a box of interesting stuff and swap it out of the library. Permission is of course between the cache owner and the library owner (if they are not the same), but I can see how a cache would walk away from the location pretty easily.

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There are many little free libraries in my city. There's one a few blocks from where I live now that I sometimes visit. They've had a problem lately with someone taking all the books to sell on the street. Where I used to live, there was one at the end of the block and I visited it regularly. Lots of people in the neighbourhood seemed to use it. Once I went by and a woman who was moving soon was there dropping off a lot of books she didn't want to pack up to take with her. The idea really seems to be taking off here - there are more of them around every year.

 

I've seen one free library cache, placed by the library owner in front of their house. The cache was inside a book that had been hollowed out to make a container. It was chained to the library and the book itself was also locked shut. The key to open the book was hidden underneath the library. I really liked it, and others seem to as well - it's got a bunch of favourite points.

 

I'd like to maybe hide a cache at my nearest LFL, but I'm not sure how best to go about it. Maybe just a bison tube attached to the post holding it up? I want to figure out how best to make the hide before I contact the owner for permission.

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I'd like to maybe hide a cache at my nearest LFL, but I'm not sure how best to go about it. Maybe just a bison tube attached to the post holding it up? I want to figure out how best to make the hide before I contact the owner for permission.

Is the LFL shaped like a little house? At one near where I live, I could have fit an ammo can inside the "attic" of that peaked roof. And I tested a magnet-held lock-n-lock and it stuck easily to the steel paneling in that "attic", above a wooden beam directly above the door, and hidden from people accessing the books. But seeing the way people treat the books in there (destroying the books and throwing the pieces all over the park), I somehow never bothered with a cache there. :rolleyes:

Edited by kunarion
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A new one of these popped up in my area along a bike trail that I frequent. In addition to books and various trail maps/brochures, there was a large guest book with an attached pen. See, something like that could be listed as is. I wonder if people would be less likely to bother a guest book instead of some cache container that's hidden inside the box.

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I'd like to maybe hide a cache at my nearest LFL, but I'm not sure how best to go about it. Maybe just a bison tube attached to the post holding it up? I want to figure out how best to make the hide before I contact the owner for permission.

Is the LFL shaped like a little house? At one near where I live, I could have fit an ammo can inside the "attic" of that peaked roof. And I tested a magnet-held lock-n-lock and it stuck easily to the steel paneling in that "attic", above a wooden beam directly above the door, and hidden from people accessing the books. But seeing the way people treat the books in there (destroying the books and throwing the pieces all over the park), I somehow never bothered with a cache there. :rolleyes:

It looks like this:

Little-Free-Library--2305-McLean-Dr.-Vancouver.jpg

 

There has been a problem with someone completely emptying it out regularly, presumably to sell the books, so I don't know whether I should try to put a cache there.

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There has been a problem with someone completely emptying it out regularly, presumably to sell the books, so I don't know whether I should try to put a cache there.

Did you scan that code?

There may already be one there. :)

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When it comes to "Little Free Library Caches," Geocaching HQ has asked the Community Volunteer Reviewers to confirm that the cache owner either owns the Library, or has obtained permission from the owner of the Library.

I have an added suggestion is to have these types of caches have the COs post on their cache page they have gotten permission to place a cache in/on the Library. Since in most of these they are on private property. Even if they own the LFL themselves.

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A new one of these popped up in my area along a bike trail that I frequent. In addition to books and various trail maps/brochures, there was a large guest book with an attached pen. See, something like that could be listed as is. I wonder if people would be less likely to bother a guest book instead of some cache container that's hidden inside the box.

Who maintains it?

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In the UK, it has become popular for communities to convert former red telephone boxes into free libraries. And I've found caches in several of these. The caches are generally some sort of fake book, once in hand clearly marked as a geocache and do not take. I've not seen any issues with these going missing. There is a program where local councils or charities can purchase redundant telephone boxes for £1.

 

The concept of "Little Free Libraries" is starting here too, though none of the converted telephone boxes I've seen has been labeled as a "Little Free Library".

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  • 1 year later...
On 6/6/2017 at 7:41 AM, bflentje said:

I ask this in total seriousness.. do the Free Libraries actually get used in the originally intended manner? Since I live in the Twin Cities, they're ALL OVER THE PLACE. I drive by several of them every day. I know its anecdotal and I know anyone visiting can be in and out in minutes. But I never personally see anyone actually using them.

I installed my little free library w/ a geocache, Wiggin's Challenge, about 6 weeks ago. Based upon the geocache log and the little free library guestbook comments, I would say the number of people using the LFL for both functions is 50/50. In my neighborhood, we have a Facebook page w/ nearly 200 members, and I have advertised my library several times since the install. Additionally, my wife and I make sure we maintain the LFL, and switch out inventory every other week. Lastly, I had made poker chips for cache to promote my little free library through the geocache community; I usually drop them for my cache when finding others in the area. I think the bottom line is you get out of your little free library and/or geocache what you put into them.

Pictured - Wiggin's Challenge container w/ poker chip cache.

cache.jpg

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On 6/6/2017 at 7:41 AM, bflentje said:

I ask this in total seriousness.. do the Free Libraries actually get used in the originally intended manner? Since I live in the Twin Cities, they're ALL OVER THE PLACE. I drive by several of them every day. I know its anecdotal and I know anyone visiting can be in and out in minutes. But I never personally see anyone actually using them.

 

Like most the selection does not meet my desired reading material. My observations for the best ones involve children books. Though the last LFL I cached at I did take my first book Animal Farm figuring short read and had not read it since the ~8th grade maybe my kids might read it too. 

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  • 1 year later...

I know this thread is 1 1/2 years old, but it's something we talk about on Waymarking.

We visit Little Free Libraries all over the place, everywhere we travel. I've found some great reading material in those book exchanges! So yes, they really do get used!

We leave fresh books in LFL when we travel (and magazines that are sent to me and I can't get cancelled!).

 

There are stamps you can use that say something along the lines of Not for Sale, donated to a LFL.

 

Visiting these libraries is one of my favorite things to do when I travel. I've really enjoyed browsing the books and leaving something I hope someone else will enjoy.

 

On 7/10/2018 at 5:16 AM, Colonel_Graff said:


Pictured - Wiggin's Challenge container w/ poker chip cache.

That is so cool! I love the poker chip, too!

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