Lady Banks Bookshelf

Lady Banks Pick of the Week

Usually, when authors go on tour they visit bookshops, libraries, and schools, not to mention the occasional bar, coffee shop, and restaurant along the way. Last year Mr. Robert Macomber augmented his own book tour with something extra, and extra fun: he made a point of visiting Little Free Libraries in all the towns he passed through on his tour.

As might be imagined, the Little Free Library tour was wildly successful on social media. What is it about little houses filled with books that is so appealing? Because let's be honest, it's not just that the books are free. A plastic crate of free books wouldn't evoke the same enthusiasm, even if the books were all pristine editions of the week's bestsellers. No there is just something about the little houses, with their little windows and doors, and their shelves filled with a random and unpredictable selection of books that calls to readers. Little Free Libraries aren't just boxes of books, they are a little reading adventure on a post.

Macomber conceived of his tour because believes that having a literate electorate is a cornerstone of democracy. To that end, he wanted to support the Little Free Libraries organization so for one year, in every town he passed through on a book or lecture engagement, he donated one of his Honor Series books to a Little Free Library, then posted a photo on Facebook and on his website to promote awareness of the library and the movement. The tour kicked off on July 4th, Independence Day in 2017 and ended one year later. Within each donated book, he wrote an inscription to that particular LFL so whoever used the books or wherever the books traveled, people would know that each was dedicated to a Little Free Library, emphasizing how literacy matters.

Some of the tour highlights*

Bokeelia, Florida
β€œI kicked off my one year quest at a LFL on the north end of the island where I live, celebrating Independence Day and the principles of democracy and literacy for all.”

Dade Battlefield Historic State Park, Florida
Within two hours of leaving the LFL at the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park in Bushnell, a couple, who are readers of my work, emailed me that they missed me at that LFL by an hour! They were traveling to historic sites around FL and were using LFLs to find reading material, then leaving finished books behind.

Optimist Park in Tallahassee, Florida
I found a great LFL at Optimist Park near a serene nature trail. Perfect place to read a book!”

Murphy, North Carolina
β€œIn Murphy, NC to witness the Total Solar Eclipse and do some writing, I discovered this popular LFL tucked away on a winding road in a mountainous region."

Nashville, Tennessee
After speaking at the Southern Festival of Books, I spotted a LFL while leaving the city and just had to stop.

Robert N. Macomber is an award-winning and internationally recognized Florida author, lecturer, and TV commentator. He is best known for the "Honor Series" of naval thrillers centered around the life and career of "Peter Wake" an American naval officer in 1863. The most recent book in the series is Honoring the Enemy, published in March, 2019.

*Photo credit Nancy Glickman