I have long appreciated the generosity of the many Santa Barbarians who offer free book exchanges in our community, building interest in reading and helping form a sense of a friendly community. While Noah Shacher’s article “Little Free Libraries” focused only on the corporately sanctioned and licensed “Little Free Libraries,” I thought Independent readers would like to know many residents sponsor their own independent “free curbside libraries and book exchanges” which further spreads the tapestry of reading and neighborliness.
While there is no official map of these independent ventures in Santa Barbara, you can discover them all over town. I know on my area near the Mission there are large ones on Paseo Del Refugio, Glendessary Lane, and Canon Drive to name a few. Since the design of these independent curbside libraries is DYI, they are generally larger and often have specialized sections (Children, Travel, Non-Fiction). I have encountered many people at these hyperlocal community gathering spots who make it part of their neighborhood experience to visit these libraries for the reading experience and some neighborly schmoozing.
While long-time residents may have a sense of Santa Barbara losing some of its small-town charm, it’s nice that free curbside libraries of all sorts dot our landscape and connect neighbors while promoting reading — and literary recycling!