Moving to a new area after 40 some odd years requires getting to know the members of one’s new community. Of course there is plugging oneself into the local scene to find new hairdressers, butchers, dentists, etc. One member that I’ve taken the time and effort to get to know is someone I’ll call Charlotte…she’s my “friendly” backdoor spider. The reason that I call her “friendly” is that she stays out of the way during the day, tucked away, covered up in a corner of the back door, and at night she is out, spinning and repairing her web and catching all sorts of bugs. She is very busy at night, every night. Charlotte doesn’t call in sick or take a vacation, and she’s always busy preparing her meals.
At one time I would have taken a shoe to a spider that was sojourning in my environment, now I visit Charlotte every night and marvel at how industrious she is with the big bonus of being a very efficient bug zapper. I must ask my friend at the University of Guelph who is a world expert on spiders, how long she has to continue her work….I feel Charlotte is a member of my new community and I am interested in her.
Little Free Libraries: Forging Ties between Police and Communities
Just over two years ago, we wrote about Little Free Libraries — the “take a book, leave a book” phenomenon that has seen small book collections sheltered in purpose-built houses crop up in a variety of places.
The aim of Little Free Libraries is to help create a sense of community by fostering book sharing and conversation. The LFL organization is now seeking donations to extend that aim to where it is sorely needed: American police stations. From BoingBoing:
“Using the simple idea that books begets community begets new understanding, LFL has developed “Libraries of Understanding,” a new program that aims to establish and rebuild the relationship between police and the community. Todd and Co. have designs on providing Little Free Libraries available to each of the 18,000 police departments across the country, so that people in any neighborhood, anywhere in the country can gather, exchange books, exchange ideas and hopefully, extend the idea of what it means to be a community.”
The initiative has raised over $58,000 USD to finance the building and furnishing of the Little Free Libraries, and has already opened some for business in police stations in major American cities. (Go to their Kickstarter site for more info.)
Education and a common point of departure are key for communication between different groups — and libraries are places where that important work can happen. And, though the Little Free Libraries are indeed physically modest, the LFL movement was founded on the belief that something small can be the catalyst for something big. I have a feeling they will meet with success!