#CreativeLithuania: Little Free Library

Friday, November 13, 2015

little free libraries in lithuania

Sometimes living in Lithuania can be a challenge (oh those dark winter days!), so I wanted to focus on forgetting about the challenges and enjoying the positives. To do so, I've started a monthly post (the second Friday of each month) that features the more creative side of Lithuania. In previous posts I've written about Uzupis, which is truly a creative mecca. For this series I wanted to focus on creative events, unique aspects of the culture or language, and cool places that I find around Lithuania. Previously I've written about Open Kitchen, the Beer Marathon, a Cat Cafe, the Lithuanian Design BlockPottery ClassCoffee Enthusiasm, A book fair, a felting class, and a street art festival.  If you have any suggestions of things to check out I'd love to hear them!

If you would like to participate in sharing creative things about where you live, tag your photos on Instagram or tweets on Twitter with #CreativeLithuania or #CreativeLocale. I'd love to see the creative side of every country! I'll share my favorite tweets and photos each month on social media and here on the blog.

Walking over to Uzupis one day recently, I noticed a box full of books - a library box! I've heard of library boxes and Little Free Libraries (LFL) before, but have never had the opportunity to check one out in person. The box I saw, located in Tibet Square right over the river in Uzupis, is a bright red beauty with a variety of books and information about Tibet. Located nearby, in the central campus of Vilnius University is another library box, this time, mimicking the building it has been attached to. The Vilnius University library box holds philosophy texts in several different languages. 

The aim of Little Free Libraries (and public library boxes in general) is to foster a community of book readers and encourage sharing of literature. Little Free Libraries are free to use and don't require you to sign up to 'check out' a book. All you have to do is have a browse through the selection and take a book you'd like to read and return it when you are finished. If you have books around your house that you don't want any more you can also leave them in an LFL. 

I LOVE reading and really enjoy carpentry (oh yeah, I rocked my high school shop class), so someday I'll have to make my own LFL. For now, I'll have to settle with watching J lead his class in making one :)

The Little Free Library movement in Lithuania started in 2012 as a community builder by Milda Varnauskaite. I contacted Milda and she was super happy to share her experience starting LFL here in Vilnius. Here is what she had to say:

Milda with her first box photo by: Edita Mikelioniene

photo credit: Milda

"The beginning wasn't so cheerful. One dark Lithuanian night three years ago I was browsing the internet when I found Little Free Library organisation website accidently, however, I instantly felt that this is what I really want to do in Vilnius. I like to joke that I had a vision where it should be standing and I followed my instinct to build it. (Almost like the Grand Duke of Lithuania, Gediminas, had a vision about building a new capital of Lithuania in Vilnius, huh? :) ) It took me a while to convince my sceptical father to help me building the Little Free Library. After two months of constant attempting, I finally succeeded and we both built a small box for books, which is standing now on Tramvaju Street in Vilnius. October 13, 2012 was the opening day. I was frightened that day, to be honest :). Even though I had invited all of my neighbours to come for the opening, nobody appeared. I recall, everyone was so sceptical about the possibilities for a library to survive even just for a few days, so for several days after the opening I had lots of nightmares, where somebody was damaging the little library.  But it survived! And to everyone's suprise, it was quite easy for people to get used to and start using the library for exchanging beloved books. We got lots of attention from media and I even got on the cover of one national newspaper! That was really huge after all of those nights full of bad dreams :). The library became a member of the street community, moreover, I would dare to say it built the community of readers in the Antakalnis neighborhood and Vilnius as well. There are now 5 registered boxes in Vilnius and more than 10 in whole Lithuania. I lost the number! :)" - Milda

Thank you Milda for sharing your creative story and for sharing LFLs with Lithuania!

If you'd like to read more about LFLs check out the links below:

Search for Little Free Libraries in Your Area

The Bibliotekele - Lithuania Facebook Page

Milda's LFL Webpage

Little Free Library on Tramvaju g.

Little Free Library at Vilnius University

Little Free Libraries in Vilnius

Have you visited a Little Free Library before? Would you be interested in making your own?


  1. I love these little libraries - they're slowly cropping up everywhere these days which is amazing! My favorite was finding one on a tiny side street of Wizard's Clip WV, a teeny town of about 440 people!

  2. I love this! I've just searched and found out that we have two in Spain, but both are in Madrid.

    The little red LFL in your photo is adorable!

    1. You should go on an in search of to find the Little Free Libraries if you happen to visit Madrid. Maybe more will pop in your area! Thank you, the LFL in the Tibet Square is awesome.

  3. What a great idea! (Both the libraries and your creative posts).

    1. Thanks, Roshan! You should check the map - are their any in your area?