News & Politics

What Can We Learn About Neighborhoods From Their Little Free Libraries?

An unscientific survey of what’s in six adorable book boxes.

You’ve probably seen them dotting the area: Little Free Libraries, those adorable boxes that offer books on a take-one/leave-one system. But what can we deduce about local areas from their contents? Washingtonian investigates.

Capitol Hill

What was there: Tucker Max, Assholes Finish First; John Grogan, Marley and Me.

Which suggests: Whether in human or canine form, terrible behavior remains popular on the Hill.


What was there: Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Kate Legere, Intoxicated Cupcakes: 41 Tipsy Treats.

Which suggests: Literature, booze, and dessert? This Northeast DC neighborhood is doing it right.


What was there: Stephen King, 11/22/63; Martin Cruz Smith, December 6.

Which suggests: Somebody really digs historical novels with dates in the titles.

Navy Yard

What was there: Olivier Dunrea, Old Bear and His Cub; Roald Dahl, The BFG.

Which suggests: A cub? A giant? Here in the shadow of Nats Park, they go deep in researching the team’s NL rivals.

Takoma Park

What was there: Claudia Wilds, Finding Birds in the National Capital Area; Jane Alexander, Wild Things, Wild Places.

Which suggests: Our crunchiest suburb is extra outdoorsy this time of year.

Columbia Heights

What was there: Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea; Henry James, The Turn of the Screw.

Which suggests: Based on this ludicrously unscientific research? Columbia Heights is DC’s most literary neighborhood.

This article appears in the December 2019 issue of Washingtonian.

Michaela Althouse
Editorial Fellow

Michaela Althouse is an editorial fellow for the Washingtonian. Her previous work has been featured in Philadelphia Magazine and

Editorial Fellow

Emily Martin is an editorial fellow for Washingtonian. She previously participated in the POLITICO Journalism Institute and covered Capitol Hill for The Durango Herald.