Little library now lending

The Little Free Library on Suttter Street: It's a neighborhood thing.

A MINI-TREND to establish individual Little Free Libraries, begun in the Midwest in 2009, has led to the creation of thousands of libraries throughout the United States and in at least 17 other countries.

And now there’s a Little Free Library in the Fillmore.

Bibliophiles who pass by 2223 Sutter Street, near Scott, will find a hinged wooden cabinet bearing a sign: “Little Free Library. Take a book or leave a book.” Many do.

Local resident Michael Scdoris built the library, which can hold up to 50 books, from material scavenged during morning walks with his dog.

“I’ve gotten a great response and numerous letters from people,” he says. “I’m finding out what people in the neighborhood like. Children’s books are gone instantly — and so is any how-to book.”

Bookishness is a family trait. Scdoris initially got the idea from his son, an avid reader. His wife is a writer and his daughter is a librarian. “And I’m a book lover,” he says. “But I’ve been giving them away for years and I didn’t get much out of that.”

Scdoris, who is retired, describes his Little Free Library, which he diligently monitors every morning and night, as a labor of love.

He’s moved about 300 books since he created the library last year — and they now go at a clip of 10 to 15 every day. He’s only run low on books once so far, and friends pitched in with donations. It’s not unusual for enrapt readers to sprawl on his front steps with their finds, sometimes eating lunch while poring through the pages.

Scdoris supports the group at that started it all, but it “seemed awfully organized” for his taste, and his Sutter Street library is not affiliated.

“The important part is not that books are free,” he says. “It’s the concept of someone caring about books and doing something about it. And here, people just seem tickled by it. It’s a neighborhood thing.”