Free Lending Libraries
Like parks, books have the power to transform human life.
In 2017, tiny “houses” appeared throughout Minneapolis parks. They’re Little Free Libraries, and as small as they are, these 55 boxes hold entire worlds.
Free lending libraries are “take one, leave one” free book exchanges. Park visitors can drop by any Minneapolis recreation or community center and discover new stories to captivate their imagination and expand their horizon. Because they are free and open to the public all year long, parks are the perfect location for libraries. In many cases, libraries are located outside of recreation centers, so community members can access new books even when the park building is closed.
We believe parks are common ground. Through this program, we help make it easier for community members to connect with each other through their shared love of reading. Check out a free lending library near you!
Library Locations & Fun Facts
Free lending libraries are located at all 49 Minneapolis Parks recreation and community centers (some have two or more), plus three additional locations. Nine recreation centers have mobile libraries that can be rolled out during events and when the building is open and are otherwise located inside. Download the Park Board’s printable recreation center map or find more information online.
While you’re out and about, keep your eye out for these library gems:
- A dog house-style library at Victory Prairie Dog Park
- A library all abloom at Longfellow House in Minnehaha Park, painted by Linda Medved Lufkin on behalf of the Minnesota School of Botanical Art
- A leafy wonderland library at Dr. Martin Luther King Recreation Center, by artists Tyler Green and Mary Schaubschlager, for Highpoint Center for Printmaking
- A Little & Co.-designed library at Perkins Hill Park
- A kayak converted to a library at Lake Nokomis Community Center
Love books and parks as much as we do? We would love your help!
If you have a small number of books to donate, you may bring them to any library at a recreation center to drop them off. Donors with a large quantity of books are asked to contact the Parks Foundation’s Madeleine Koski at MKoski@MplsParksFoundation.org.
Become a Library Steward
We’re working with the Minneapolis Park Board to recruit library stewards to help us keep libraries stocked and in good condition. Download this form for more information and a link to submit an application.
Support This Program
Your general operating support helps us maintain all 56 free lending libraries. Donate online now! Thank you.
This program began through a Parks Foundation partnership with Minnesota Public Radio, The Minneapolis Foundation, and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.