Richmond’s Little Free Libraries project cool way to offer community access to free books

Richmond's Little Free Libraries project offers community free access to books

For Richmond’s Kathy Chouteau penned a great piece this week about “Richmond’s Little Free Libraries,” a grassroots project to install small wooden boxes around town containing books that are free for community members to borrow.

The project was launched by North Richmond resident and literacy advocate Cristal Banagan, who encourages local residents to both take a book and return a book.

“Access to quality books, knowledge and community building is important here in Richmond,” Banagan told For Richmond.

What if people don’t return the books? Banagan said she’s fine with that outcome.

“Everyone understands they might just take the books and not come back. And that’s fine,” she said. “And, in fact, we encourage folks to do that because not everybody has a library at home and there’s nothing wrong with us helping them build their own library; especially if they have young children, they need to have those resources at home.”

The map below shows the location of the current boxes (in purple), as well as proposed locations of future boxes (in yellow). The image was posted on Richmond’s Little Free Libraries’ Facebook page.

littlefreelibraries.1.4-17Banagan was inspired to start Little Free Libraries in Richmond after seeing one in Alameda. Her first box, built by her husband, was installed in 2013 in her neighborhood at CURME’s Harmony Garden, 1643 Fred Jackson Way, For Richmond reported.

There are now four little libraries in the Richmond area, including on Murdock Street, in the Annex and in Point Richmond, and there are plans for four more.

We encourage our readers to read For Richmond’s full report on the initiative, including more thoughts and goals from Banagan.

Meanwhile, if you wish to donate to the cause, one can buy a little free library in full for $900 or make a partial donation by contacting Banagan at (510) 692-1949 or

To learn more about Richmond’s Little Free Libraries, click here.



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