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Little Free Libraries in Key West

I love Little Free Libraries. This global project has a mission to increase access to books and promote a sense of community with the sharing of books. A little LFL can be maintained by an individual, a business (like a coffee shop), or an organization (such as a church), but the idea is to create a space where books can be left for others to take. A LFL can be simple, like a bookcase or a box, or elaborate, such as a purpose built bird-house like structure...but for books!

During my recent visit to Key West, Florida, I had the joy of visiting two LFL, each with a distictly Key West flair.

The first was a discovery, rather than a planned visit. We were seeking a restaurant for lunch when we passed The Green Parrot, a local bar with a lively crowd enjoying a band on a Sunday afternoon. At the entrance to the bar was a LFL.

How delightful is it to find a LFL at a bar? Another observation is that the general vibe at most of the bars in Key West, reminded me of many pubs in England. It was was how different generations of people casually mingled. I love this. Often in the US, I find that bars are unofficially segregated by age. It's refereshing to see everyone mixing and enjoying. I also like the idea that it would be not only acceptable, but encouraged to read a book while enjoying a drink. Key West had a very "you do you" attitude.

The second LFL was a very intentional visit. For over a year, I've been following an instagram account called mermaid_dreams_library. Don't know it? You should! The account is for a mermaid themed LFL run by a wonderful woman named Debby, who is a Key West local. When I started following her account, I had no idea that I would actually get to visit her LFL.

I picked out a few books to leave in her box and when we stopped by, Debby was in her garden and saw us. She was so kind and welcoming. I learned how important her LFL is to her neighborhood. She even added a step stool when she learned that a group of young children where frequent visitors with their grandmother. A LFL library is such a warm addition to a neighborhood, plus, Debby's LFL has so much character. Beyond its mermaid theming, she decorates it for the holidays and seasons.

I wasn't planning on acquiring new books, but Debby kindly made sure that I left with a copy of Heaven and Hurricanes by local author Sean Michael Norris. Thank you Debby!

I would love to have my own LFL, but the Stepford Wives-esque community where I live, will not allow it. However, if you would like to create one or find out where you can visit a LFL near you, here is the website.

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