Around where I live there are a bunch of 'little free libraries'. Think of them as a cross between a book shelf and a mailbox - freestanding structures that allow any passerby to swap out books. The other day a book caught my eye. At any other moment I would note the book's title and close the little free library. This time was different. I grabbed the book and went on my way.

A series of questions dawned upon me. Should I put a book in its place? Could I make notes within the book? Do I return the book after I read it? Is it now my book? What was intended to be an outlet for simple book exchange left me with more questions than answers. Important questions about how we exchange information and what it means to lend and own.

And it made me realize how little I think about those kind of questions with content on the web. I read post after post without wondering whether I should return a post afterwards. Some of that is due to the nature of the medium. But maybe some of that is due to being in a stupor.

All it took was a little free library for me to be struck by compelling questions. Perhaps something on the web could rattle us to interrogate it further, to create a better web by asking better questions. Like the little free libraries, perhaps that thing is right around the corner of your e-neighborhood

The Little Free Library
CJ Eller