it appears to have more to do with the locations of the LFLs, and how close they are to city property lines (ie sidewalks, etc). But honestly, dig a tiny bit deeper (as some reporters did) and one finds that what constitutes city lines is ambiguous, at best. One would think that city officials would have better and more important things to do with their time - and our tax dollars - than harass people over something as positive and community-building as a Little Free Library.
We don't have many LFLs in Australia, but I visited one (the only one in over 2,000kms driving) on my recent travels. It was in an outer suburb, with first home buyer type housing around, so hardly elite. Sure, not a slum, but still not a more upmarket inner suburb.
I have to respond to that article, Bookgirrl, because it really annoyed me!
"Put simply, one does not need the assistance of a non-profit corporation to share books with their neighbors.”
One does not, but there are quite a few benefits to being part of this organization. The benefits I like most are that my own Little Free Library is on their map so it can be located by anyone. The second reason I like it is that I can share ideas and thoughts with other Litte Free Library stewards all over the world on a private Little Free Library stewards Facebook page.
"While mapping the locations of LFLs in Toronto and Calgary, the researchers found that they appear mostly in wealthy, gentrified neighborhoods where predominantly white residents are likely to possess university degrees and, most interestingly, where public libraries already exist."
I don't live in either Toronto or Calgary, nor do I live in a "wealthy, gentrified" neighborhood "where predominantly white residents are likely to possess university degrees". I do have a public library in my neighborhood. My library is not competition to our public library, but it is rather a complement to our public library. A small box holding 25 to 50 books at a time could hardly be called competition to a public library. The city in which I live is one of the most diverse cities in the United States, being home to many different religions, races, and ethnicities.
"they found that homeowners 'studiously avoided' interactions with strangers looking at books"
This varies with the individual steward. I love talking to visitors to my own Little Free Library of Twinbrook (#7720) in Rockville, Maryland, USA. I have met many neighbors that I never knew before by doing this.
"driven more so by the desire to showcase one’s passion for books and education than a genuine desire to help the community in a meaningful way."
Why does my own willingness to simply share books need to be analyzed in this critical way?
"Why can’t public libraries meet these needs?"
The answer is that public libraries do not supply free books to the public -- books which they can then keep forever without incurring a fine. Little Free Libraries and public libraries have different roles.
"“Reluctant readers are unlikely to find material that will appeal to them"
I beg to differ on this. I display books for all ages. To an adult who said he could not read, I gave a picture book I thought he would enjoy. He was very happy about that.
What are Little Free Libraries *supposed to* accomplish? I don't think they have to *accomplish* anything. Little Free Libraries simply exist for sharing books. If they accomplish something beside that, all the better.