A fad here in the States is informal libraries, a row of a few books outside businesses,  homes, etc that encourage a passerby to take a book and leave another. They may appear and disappear  quickly or be more permanent. Some are quite elaborate structures and others mere boxes or stacks of books placed out each day. I thought this practice was unique to the US, but found in my travels in France, this is not the case.

In Toulouse, one such library was constructed in a well-traveled, public square and looked more like a sculpture until I got closer. Here was a sign encouraging the exchange of books with a few displayed behind glass doors that easily opened for access.


In a small nearby town, children’s books were stacked outside a shop at ground level for easy access by little ones.  While outside another shop they were placed upright on a shelf.  At both places a sign encouraged readers to take or leave a book.


Have you seen informal libraries in other countries? What has been your experience with them?


About berylreichenberg

I am a storyteller. Writing and illustrating books for children, I have published over 35 titles. Three of my books, "Ants on a Log", "Camouflage", and "The Mysterious Case of the Missing Birthday Cake" have been published by a traditional publisher, Oak Tree Press. These are available from Oak Tree and Amazon as well as other outlets. The others are published by and can be seen on their website. Some of my stories are in prose and some in verse. All are designed for small children and young school children. My fiction stories are designed to delight these children and help them learn about themselves and the world around them. I also have a number of nonfiction books about animals, the natural world, and other cultures. I illustrate my stories with drawings and photographs. I hold a Master's Degree from UCLA and have taught school in California. I hope that young children and their adult companions will enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them.

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