Book sharing success shows power of the printed word

The influence of the written word is proving its power in Claremont through the success of the Little Free Library, a book-sharing program sweeping the city as well as the globe.

What began for Claremont in June as a miniature bookshelf on the side of a Village building is now a concept cropping up throughout town, whether nestled near shops, restaurants or homes.

The little lending libraries have branched from an undertaking led by Anne Seltzer, owner of A Brush with the Past: Art Gallery and Vintage Treasures. She seized the opportunity to set up such a nook in an empty hole on the side of The Press Restaurant. Ms. Seltzer had taken to the concept founded in Wisconsin making use of open space in a campaign to promote global literacy.

“This is in no way meant to compete with the library. It is just an added little thing that we hope latches on,” Ms. Seltzer said in an interview before the opening.

Ms. Seltzer’s initiative has led to a new batch of reading nooks across Claremont. A Little Free Library can now be spotted in front of the Village West’s new Crepes de Paris eatery as well as at local residences, one of which can be found in front of 1420 N. Mills Ave.

The concept is as simple as the tiny structures themselves: “take a book, leave a book.” It is not meant as a donated book “dumping ground,” but as part of a book-sharing program, giving communities 24-7 access to works of literature. Passersby are encouraged to share a favorite piece of literature, with a note, in exchange for another’s recommendation.

“This is a total community effort. It’s up to the community to work it and keep it going,” Ms. Seltzer said. “I hope it’s something Claremont readers support and embrace.”

Learn more about the Little Free Library campaign at

—Beth Hartnett


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