Guerilla Library

007When we lived in Brooklyn, space-strapped neighbors would often shed extra items by leaving them on their stoops. It was a lot less trouble than a trip to Goodwill or organizing a stoop sale, and just about anything you left was picked up by a neighbor. Phil and I found and subsequently left a lot of books this way. The only downside to this informal stuff swap was that we were all trained that anything on a stoop was fair game. So when my landlord and his kids were out playing, got hot, shed their jackets on the stoop, and went for a walk, they came home to an empty stoop.

I’ve missed this neighborly swap culture since we left, so was thrilled on Saturday when I took the long way home from dropping Max off at a friend’s house and found this front-yard, weather-proofed informal book swap a few blocks from our house. When I got home, Sylvia and I found a few books to donate, got on our coats, and took a walk.

I left an extra copy I had of the best book I read last year, The Fault in Our Stars by Indianapolis resident John Green. To say “I had an extra copy” sounds passive — like I just noticed two copies on our bookshelf. Actually, I’d recently seen a copy of the first printing that Green famously signed, and re-bought the book. So sorry, neighbors, your copy is not signed.


Sylvia left a couple of her board books she was finished with, thus expanding the offerings into the sippy-cup set.


With tons of books on my shelf and Kindle that I haven’t yet read, I was willing to just drop off some books and go, but Sylvia insisted on picking out a book for herself.


We headed home, but we’ll be visiting often to drop off gems we want to share with neighbors. In fact, once the duck coop is reinforced for this spring’s new residents, maybe I’ll try my own hand at woodworking and add a Central Avenue branch to the guerilla library.



2 thoughts on “Guerilla Library

  1. That is fantastic! I too love leaving stuff on the curb for others to pick up. We have a little tree trunk with a top on it and a FREE sign that we like to call our Boo Radley spot. We leave treasures there all the time!

  2. Thank you Cindy for sharing this idea. I live in Toronto where lots of stuff get “traded” on the curb. I am a novice woodworker and the Guerilla Library will make a great future project for my family.

    We are also big fans of John and Hank Green, so your blog entry spoke to me at many levels.

    All the best,

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