I love little free libraries.

Those little boxes that people have made at their end of yards and people take and leave whatever books. Some are works of art, like small houses with little windows, carefully crafted with tiny shingles on the roof. Others are thrown together and scarcily keep the rain out. Still…I love them all.

On my daily walk with the dogs I have a route that takes me past five different libraries (seven if I do the bigger loop).

The contents are always changing of course, which makes daily visits a constant journey of discovery. And the selection is generally hard to predict. One day a whole science fiction collection will get jammed in between a dog eared cozy mystery and a historical tomb that has been there for months. The next day it will be a stack of Harper’s magazines, and some Scandinavian noire.

But I say ‘generally’ hard to predict…because there is a trend based on geography!

The battered red library with the wonky hinges at the end of our street is predominantly populated by sci-fi, cook books, and various self-help themes.

The one around the corner (a beautifully done mini version of the actual house behind it) leans towards YA (young adult) sort of fair. But also mature mysteries (Tana French, Louise Penny, most noticeably).

Then, past the path through the woods, is the mother lode. A large multilevel box outside a modern flat-roofed house…but across the street is a retirement age condo building. All those wonderful grey haired little old ladies who — apparently — have an unending appetite for the filthiest sort of romantic smut imaginable. The turnover is daily, and some of the stuff is too graphic even for me! (Anal gang-bangs? Really??) Additionally though, is a great volume of cozy mysteries and Agatha Christie type material.

Fourth on the list is a cool log-cabin type of box. It has lights inside when you open the door and everything. Now were into mostly thriller sort of things. Lee Child, Robert Ludlum, Clive Cussler, etc. etc. But also religious pamphlets, travel guides, and the biggest source of popular ‘literary’ type things.

Lastly, down by the beach, is another favourite. The turn-over here is wildly eclectic, and huge. Every visit is a new grab-bag, and competley unpredictable.

Regardless of the library in question…I’m tempted to buy a bunch of ‘The Night Swimmers’ in paperback and seed them in. Just to see how long they stay before someone takes them home. And then wait to see if they return again.

-K