Little Free Pantries


In 2009, Wisconsinite Todd Bol created the first "Little Free Library": a free-standing book pantry, little bigger than a birdhouse, where passersby can take and leave books at will. The nonprofit Bol founded estimates that in the decade since, fans of the idea have independently constructed 100,000 little libraries in more than 100 countries. During the coronavirus pandemic, those libraries are serving a new purpose: People have started replacing books with nonperishable foods and toiletries for their needy neighbors.

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  1. This cockles of my small, bleak heart.

    1. Like the Grinch, my heart grew 3 sizes today! (But it’s still subatomic).

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  2. Given the number of little free libraries I see that are filled with moldy *books*, I’d probably take a pass on the little free pantry food unless my life depended on it.

    Little Free Pantry food… gas station egg salad sandwich… little free pantry food… gas station egg salad…

    1. … bulging cans…

      1. You know who else had bulging cans?

        1. Jennilee Harrison?

          1. Many acceptable answers. If you’re reaching back to the past, I would have chosen Cindy Margolis.

            1. Three’s Company marathon in the office kitchen last week, and Tank was on Starz … like it was her birthday or something

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                1. bulging cans or gtfo

    2. Where do you live that you’ve seen multiple little libraries?

      1. I have about 10 “Little Free Libraries” within about a mile of my house. Of course, living in Dane County near Madison, WI may have something to do with it.

        1. There are a couple dozen within 10 blocks of my house. And it’s not like the public library is far away either – one block away.

          I think they are a great idea. And a great way to seed the ideas contained in books at the local level in your neighborhood – to people who don’t buy books anymore, haven’t read many books since HS or college, and won’t download books either. Course there are an increasing number of people who don’t even walk around the neighborhood anymore and front yards are slowly being fenced in to turn the public space of the street into a void.

          Hell I’d like to see ‘little free music samplers’ or ‘little free video/movie snippets’ in addition. The tech for that might be a bit of a challenge but that sort of stuff can be a modern alternative to the older idea of an urban front porch. My neighborhood was built in that era and there are still a lot of those but they are now pretty much unused and the newbuilds don’t even have that.

      2. I see them all over the DC suburbs. There are tons all over the place.

      3. I have 5 little libraries within a half mile of my house. Wouldn’t be surprised if there are another 5 to 10 in the rest of the town. I really don’t pay much attention to them myself but my wife is constantly swapping books at them.

        Also have one little pantry that’s been up for a few years actually.

        Just a little Iowa town, not really a suburb of anything.

        1. We also have a pantry thats been there for at least 5 years.

  3. I misread the heading as “Little Free Panties” at first glance. Then I clicked on the link and my boner withered.

    1. Feels better knowing I’m not the only one who made that mistake.

      1. Are you guys turning Japanese?

  4. So how about Free Little Banks?

  5. Free little bars would be a hit.

    1. Free Little Bars? Hey fellas, ‘Free Little Bars’! Well, ooh la-ti-da Mr. French man!

      I call it a stump hole.
      /Moe Szyslak

  6. Great. Now the health department knows.
    Fines and citations are sure to follow.

  7. Did they get the proper licenses and permits to give away free food?

    I hope they (or their dogs) don’t get shot when the food license SWAT team show up to enforce the law. Or the Homeowner association fines them for violating the rules.

  8. giving away free food in your yard may get your dog shot by police.

  9. These were around in WI by at least 2005, I think this guy stole the credit for them. I wonder what his salary is to chair his self named non profit?

  10. Government interventions suffer in comparison with charities in terms of efficacy, efficiency, morality, and cannot provide the individual satisfaction and growth to both givers and receivers that do charities.

  11. People’ll leave intentionally poisoned food in them eventually. People are shitheads

  12. Those who adapt survive. Case in point – During the coronavirus pandemic, those libraries are serving a new purpose: People have started replacing books with nonperishable foods and toiletries for their needy neighbors. electricians midland tx

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