Someone Ought to Do a Study

Social Research Ideas. Unrefined and Completely Free.

Kai Lynn Dailey
Feb 27, 2018 · 2 min read
  1. Take-a-book, Leave-a-book Movement

How might we understand the social meaning of the some 60,000 registered Little Free Libraries in 80+ countries?

Possible Framess/Theories

Response to virtual influences (electronic books, fewer independent book stores, change in library use, geographic isolation from social networks prompting community building)

Social signifier (sociability, affiliation, education/economic status-emulation/distinction)


Extra books (Relative affluence: easier to give things away or exchange them. For example, yard sales in some areas of the U.S. aren’t well attended. Relative poverty: inspires exchange economy)

Rejection of consumerism (a variation of freeganism)

Analog expression of social media behaviors

Social Justice

Generational nostalgia

Media Sources:

Little Free Library Crackdown, The Atlantic

Take a Book, Leave a Book, The Inlander (Spokane, WA)

Against Little Free Libraries, City Lab

Peer Reviewed Sources:

Library Science: Snow, M. (2015). Little Free Libraries: A Call for Research into the Tiny Book Depositories. Children & Libraries,13(4), 30.

Urban Studies: Sarmiento, C. S., Sims, J. R., & Morales, A. (2017). Little Free Libraries: an examination of micro-urbanist interventions.Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, 1–21.

Critical Theory: Schmidt, J., & Schmidt, H. (2017). Jordan Little Free Libraries®: Interrogating the impact of the branded book exchange. Journal of Radical Librarianship, 3, 14–41.

Intervention Study: Dixon, A. M. (2014). Little Free Library. Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders Undergraduate Honors Theses. 22.

Network Theory: Webster, T., Gollner, K., Nathan, L. (2015). Neighbourhood Book Exchanges: Localising Information Practices. Information Research: An International Electronic Journal, 20(3).

Field Observation: Bikos, G., & Papadimitriou, P. (2017). Exchange libraries: Greece’s response to a global trend. Library Review, 66(1/2), 28–38.

Kai Lynn Dailey

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Learning Consultant. Coursera Mentor & Beta-tester. Scholar-practitioner. Mystic. MOOC Junkie. Always doing sociology.