Trouble in the Land of Little Free Libraries

                     Todd Bol, the founder of Little Free Library, died in 2018. (Jim Mone/AP)

The Washington Post is reporting on a feud in the Little Free Library world between the founder’s younger brother Tony and the Little Free Library nonprofit that Todd Bol co-founded.

In early 2019, Tony Bol started Share With Others, a for-profit company that sells wooden boxes with a storage area for books.

In June of 2019 Little Free Library filed for a new trademark for use of the words “Little Free Library” in connection with “wooden boxes with a storage area for books.” The trademark was issued in response to like book boxes being sold by Share With Others and other companies on platforms like Etsy and Amazon.

 Juanita Metzger, in front the Little Library in her neighbour’s front yard Kitchner, Ontario

At issue are the words “little library” used to describe those wooden boxes that grace (mostly middle and upper class) neighborhoods across the country.

Tony Bol calls the trademark request “akin to some organization wanting to own all bird houses by applying to have trademark control over ‘wooden boxes with a nesting area for birds.’ 

                                   Little Free Cookbook Library outside PCC Market – West Seattle

There are more than 90,000 registered Little Free Library book-sharing boxes in 91 countries and countless unregistered examples.

“Spinning Stories” by Johnston Architects winner of Seattle Design Festival award

Previously on Book Patrol:

A Little Free Library loving third-grader on the power of books

Little Free Library Love at the Seattle Design Festival

The Evolution of the Little Free Library

The coolest little free library yet?