Little Lending Libraries

I’m in the American Portrait Museum, face to face with a bust of William Seward: the man who engineered the US purchase of Alaska from the Czar. We celebrate his birthday in Alaska by giving everyone the day off. Here, close to where he was almost assassinated, his image hides in a corner.

Earlier, I walked over the Eastern Market, stopping at each of the tiny “take one, leave one” libraries. Even though the birdhouse-like structures only hold a couple dozen books, their contents allow a good read of the neighborhood’s character. The first one I checked on Capitol Hill contained a recent paperback novel by Isabelle Allende and a slim volume of essays by Montaigne. Another one had a hardback tome on Joan Moro. A few blocks away, we could only find crime novels and kid books.

I never found a book on William Seward or even one on US history in any of the tiny library boxes I looked into today. But they did offer an impressive number of fine reads.

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