The first little library popped up in my neighborhood about a year ago. It looked like a deluxe birdhouse topped with wooden bunny ears. "How adorable!" I thought. "What a cute vessel for book exchange."
Recently a second book-filled birdhouse appeared just up the street from me, this one crowned by an open-mouthed blue bird.
Intrigued, I did some research into the non-profit organization that promotes these little libraries. Their mission, as stated on their website, is to promote literacy and a love of reading, and to build a greater sense of community through books.
A worthy cause, no doubt. Who doesn't want to promote literacy and build community?
When I clicked on the World Location Map, I was impressed to see that these little birdhouses are popping up all across North America, with a smattering in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Upon closer inspection, however, I noticed that the libraries are located almost entirely in predominately middle-class or affluent neighborhoods; places where literacy is already promoted in high-performing schools and where most of the population can afford to buy their own books.