Free Books with Money Inside!

Little Free Libraries is helping communities support each other’s reading habits in more ways than one.


Saidmuhammad Asoev, Staff Writer

Have you ever wanted to read, but did not want to spend money buying books? Is it possible to get a book for free and find money inside? Do you have books that have been laying there for years and you do not know what to do with them? Little Free Libraries is your solution.

If you walk around town or ride a bike, you may come across tiny, wooden houses with glass doors that look like mailboxes.

Photo by Saidmuhammad Asoev

If you approach them, you can see through the glass piles of books lying inside, waiting for their readers. These are tiny libraries that are accessible to everyone.

Little Free Libraries is a nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minn. Its mission is to be a catalyst for building community, inspiring readers and expanding book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led Little Free Libraries. The organization installs small libraries around the country, thus creating conditions for people to share the books they read or donate the books they do not need.

Little Free Libraries has made donating easier than ever before. You can take all the books you want to donate, find the libraries, and put the books inside. You can also add notes to the reader, or a gift if you want, so people can borrow books from any of the libraries, read them, and return.

Once, when I visited one in 1911 President Street, and saw inside different genres of books. I took a book called “The Moscow Club” and drove home. When I opened the book and was turning pages I found $50 inside. I was shocked and, at first glance, thought it was fake.

The next day, however, I paid for groceries and handed the money to the cashier, and she accepted it. I knew reading books had a lot of benefits, but I would have never imagined one day I would find money inside a book I borrowed. This experience impacted me positively and since then, every time I return a book to one of the Free Little Libraries, I put a dollar inside to surprise and inspire other readers. I believe this is a great way to not only share books and knowledge but also unite a community and bring readers together.

Screenshot of the Little Free Libraries App

Around Wheaton and Glen Ellyn, more than 10 of these libraries can be found. No need to roam around to locate them, which is hard to do. Instead, finding them is a lot easier by downloading the Little Free Libraries application from the Play Market or App Store. As soon as you choose your location, the app displays all existing libraries around, and it is possible to choose directions and find them. The app makes it a lot easier for readers to find little libraries and get their favorite books.

There are different genres of books, and they vary with every library. I have seen all types of books in them ranging from novels, religious scriptures, and self-improvement to money management and biographies. Even books for children are available. A real book lover would not leave home empty handed after looking for books in Little Free Libraries.

If you love reading various types of books, that is the best place for you. This is a great opportunity for people who want to read books for free and for those who have books that are not needed. Unsure about what book to read, sometimes I go to any of the small libraries, get a random book, come home and read. Sometimes you can be even surprised by finding best selling books laying there.

As an international student, I have never seen such a great thing in other countries. It is a great way to strengthen community and to encourage people to engage in reading and sharing.  As former President Harry S. Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”