Americans across the nation are using their neighborhood’s Little Free Libraries as a way to serve their neighbors during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
In keeping with the guidelines of social distancing, people have begun stocking Little Free Libraries with items like canned goods and toilet paper, according to Mental Floss.
March 17, Twitter user Ashley Hamer shared a photo of a Little Free Library in her neighborhood that was full to the brim with boxes of pasta, microwaveable rice, and canned soups:
Seen in my Chicago neighborhood.
Sign says "To help our neighbors affected by the COVID-19 crisis, this Little Free Library is converted to a Little Free Pantry. Take what you need and if you can, please donate what you can spare!" pic.twitter.com/HtrUHNv9BG
— Ashley Hamer (@smashleyhamer) March 18, 2020
Thursday, another Twitter user posted a photo of her own neighborhood’s tiny library stocked with toilet paper and books:
I dropped off twelve books to two of my local little free libraries and was touched to see this in one of them @LtlFreeLibrary (I didn't take one as we are OK at the moment) pic.twitter.com/ViCKkRlmZt
— Hold The Peas (@holdthepeas) March 20, 2020
Saturday, yet another Twitter user shared a photo of her community’s Little Free Library that had a special note attached, which read “You Are Not Alone”:
— JennyB (@MrsBisforBooks) March 22, 2020
In a blog post on Thursday, Little Free Library’s Executive Director M. Greig Metzger encouraged library stewards to keep providing food and essential items to people unable to enter a store for the time being.
“Bottom line, it is wonderful to support your neighbors. In fact, we imagine that is one of the reasons you are a steward—to help out your neighbors and your community,” the director wrote.
“If you want to add items of need to your library that you think would be helpful, that is completely up to you. We think helping one’s fellow person in this challenging time is great,” Metzger added.
Wednesday, the nonprofit group also encouraged people to sanitize their hands and wipe down anything they might take out of a tiny library to help curb the spread of the virus.
“Please do what is best for your community, and remember—we’re in this together!” the website read.
It appears that the stewards are taking their cue from groups like the Little Free Pantry which utilizes the same concept to make sure community members in need do not go hungry, according to Nonprofit Quarterly.
“Not only is this a great example of volunteers responding to COVID-19 in a positive way, but it’s also a great reminder of everyone lending a hand in times of crisis,” wrote Julie Euber.
“We might feel more isolated as we collectively work to slow the spread of the virus, but there are still opportunities to support each other through it all,” she concluded.