The Springfield Free Library Network promotes free libraries throughout the Springfield, MO area. Some are community bookshelves in indoor locations, while others are self-contained boxes located outside in residential and commercial areas — see Little Free Library for more on these. There is no charge to register your library with SpringFreeLibNet, and you do not need to also be registered with Little Free Library.
Q: How did SpringFreeLibNet get started? A: In January 2013, Holly June Graves (librarian at the Fremont location) gave a presentation about Little Free Libraries at the Springfield Free Skool & Skillshare. Most of those in attendance had no idea that there were already four outdoor free libraries in town, and after learning more about Little Free Library, we decided to start a free local directory of outdoor and indoor locations. SpringFreeLibNet was born!
Q: Why give away free books? A: Because it creates a stronger community. Because the gift economy is valid, viable, and vital to humanity. Because there aren’t many feelings in the world that are better than holding a new-to-you book in your hands and opening it to the first page. Because we want to remind people that it’s important to sit down and read — alone, together, and to each other. And most of all, because it’s fun.
Q: Aren’t all libraries free? A: Technically, no. Libraries as institutions are funded by taxpayer dollars, and of course overdue fines. The free libraries in SpringFreeLibNet are maintained entirely by volunteers and are an example of a gift economy. You do not need a membership card to check out a book, and if you want to keep it, simply replace it with one of your own books.
Q: What’s the difference between SpringFreeLibNet and Little Free Library? Why bother with another free library organization? A: SpringFreeLibNet is a local organization while Little Free Library is international. Secondly, SpringFreeLibNet is entirely free to its members, while Little Free Library costs $40 to get listed on their website. We think LFL is awesome, but it’s not an option for everyone who wants to host a library. We want to make sure every free library in Springfield can be easily found by readers.
Q: How do I get listed? A: Once your library is ready, fill out the signup form. A SpringFreeLibNet administrator will visit your library in person and confirm that it does in fact contain books, and get precise GPS coordinates. They’ll also take a picture of it. If you host an indoor library, we’ll contact you to find out when we should stop by. Then your library will be added to our Locations!
Q: Okay, this is awesome. How can I help you guys? A: Thanks for asking! Check out our Donate page for some options, or e-mail SpringFreeLibNet@gmail.com if you want to do something that isn’t listed there.