Little Free Libraries®: Interrogating the impact of the branded book exchange

Schmidt, Jane and Hale, Jordan Little Free Libraries®: Interrogating the impact of the branded book exchange. Journal of Radical Librarianship, 2017, vol. 3, pp. 14-41. [Journal article (Paginated)]

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English abstract

In this article, we critique the phenomenon of Little Free Libraries® (LFL®), the non-profit organization dedicated to sharing books with one’s neighbours. Through our engagement with the discourses, narratives and geographies of the LFL® movement, we argue that the organization represents the corporatization of literary philanthropy, and is an active participant in the civic crowdfunding activities of the non-profit industrial complex. The visible positioning of these book exchanges, particularly on private property in gentrified urban landscapes, offers a materialization of these neoliberal politics at street level. Drawing primarily upon one of the author’s experiences as an LFL® steward, as well as critical discourse and GIS analysis, we offer constructive critiques of the organization and their mission, and suggest that the principles of community-led library practice can be more effectively employed to harness the enthusiasm of these self-described “literacy warriors.”

Item type: Journal article (Paginated)
Keywords: Little Free Libraries®, GIS, neoliberalism
Subjects: D. Libraries as physical collections.
Depositing user: Stuart Lawson
Date deposited: 08 Jan 2018 08:53
Last modified: 08 Jan 2018 08:53


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