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43 pages 1 hour read

Wendy Mass, Rebecca Stead

The Lost Library

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2018

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Symbols & Motifs

The Little Free Library

The appearance of the little free library in the town of Martinville sets the novel’s plot in motion. What exactly prompts Al to establish the library at this particular time—so many years after the loss of the public library—is unknown, but she is broadly driven by a desire to provide books for the town’s citizens. The importance of the little free library lies partly in the fact that it contains the only books that survived the Martinville Library fire, thus imbuing them with great value. By placing them in the little free library, Al allows the community to benefit once again from the books. However, because the little free library encourages patrons to leave books to share with others, the little library also fosters a sense of community among the Martinville residents. This reinforces The Magic of Books and Reading and (more specifically) the way in which public libraries benefit their communities. Unity and equality are therefore embedded in the little free library.

Just as a brick-and-mortar library might, the little free library encourages its patrons to explore new topics: Evan has never before been interested in mysteries, but with the help of the guide to mystery writing that he borrows, he realizes that he is indeed immersed in a mystery.

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