Once you begin to notice them, you see them everywhere — Little Free Libraries. They’re scattered all over Milwaukee, in people’s front lawns, in parks and outside businesses, and chances are you have one in your neighborhood. The happy, house shaped boxes are usually colorfully painted and, as you’d expect, filled with books that anyone can borrow for free.
But who is maintaining them? Where do the books come from? It’s a bit of a mystery, and that’s the beautiful thing about them. No single person is in charge. Instead, the community keeps them stocked.
But the downside, if there is any, is that sometimes the libraries are too popular, and all the books get checked out or picked over. And that’s where Barbara Cerda, and her alter-ego Barby the Book Fairy, is stepping in.
Over the last year, she has taken a handful of little libraries on the South Side under her wing, keeping a steady flow of culturally appropriate children’s books stocked on their tiny shelves. To date, she has collected or purchased more than 1,000 books, with plans to distribute them all back to her South Side community.
Tag along with Barby the Book Fairy in the community story below.