A book drive, of sorts

My first nobo thru hiker season saw about 20 books swap out of my Little Free Library. Many of the initial books I used to stock the library were random paperbacks purchased a-box-for-five-dollars at my regional public library. — Not books hand selected for this “special” audience. So, I had the bright idea of inviting my friends and colleagues to contribute to my little free library, and sent out the following call:

Dear friends and colleagues,

As many of you know, I own property abutting the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) in Southern California and offer thru hikers, local hikers, and equestrians emergency water, shade and — as of spring 2015 — a Little Free Library with a variety of books to take for free.

My property is 145 miles from the Mexican border and most thru hikers pass by during their second week on the trail. I enjoy interacting with hikers and talking with them about their experiences so far and their reasons for starting this adventure. I love the diversity of their responses — responses that point to one thing all the thru hikers have in common: transition. A PCT thru hike is marking a transition or serving as a means to force a transition from one period of their life to another.

I am seeking paperback donations to my Little Free Library on the theme ‘transition.’ If there is a book that meant a lot to you during a period of transition or transformation in your life and you are interested in participating in a brief conversation with a PCT thru hiker about it, read on. The book can be in poor condition, but it must be lightweight. (Thru hikers obsess about the weight in their packs.). Include a note with a few sentences describing the significance of the book to you. Provide me with your mailing address and I will place your note and a stamped postcard addressed to you in the book, along with instructions to the hiker who picks up that book to drop the postcard in a mailbox once they are done. (Note: there is no assumption that the book will be returned to you, so do not donate a book you are not willing to give away.)

If you wish to donate a book, reply to me and we’ll figure out a way for you to get the book to me.

Most thru hikers on the PCT hike south to north, passing by my property in late spring. A smaller group hikes in the other direction and will be passing by my property in the fall and early winter. I’m accepting donations now through spring 2016. I already have a large assortment of random paperbacks and do not need additional general books to stock the library.

Feel free to pass this “invitation” on to others you believe might be interested.

Happy trails,

Time will tell how many contributions I receive. In the meantime, I went to my local used book store and purchased four paperbooks that have all been very meaningful to me in helping me develop into the person I am now. Here’s the titles I’ve added to my little free library:

  • Thoreau’s Walden
  • Emerson’s Essays (first and second series)
  • Whitman’s Leaves of Grass
  • Octavio Paz’s Labyrinth of Solitude

I also bought a bunch of used nature guides to develop a reference section of books that are not supposed to be removed. Perhaps I was a librarian in some previous life.

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