Take a little stroll and socially distanced dream vacation—to the magical world of books.

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Little Library 1
Credit: Caroline Eubanks

As the coronavirus crisis wears on, it can feel harder and harder to find the silver lining amid our socially distanced, isolated new normal. Caroline Eubanks, freelance writer and author of This Is My South: The Essential Travel Guide to the Southern States, who moved to Marietta, Georgia, this spring as the pandemic continued to unfurl across our country found one. Well, thousands actually—books. Lots and lots of free books, thanks to Little Free Library outposts all around her Atlanta suburb.

For Eubanks, these small collections of gratis books have been pillars of hope and connection during these dark and uncertain times. "Little Free Libraries feel like such a neighborhood thing, like a modern day lending of a cup of sugar," Eubanks shared with Southern Living.

The books, as Eubanks describes in a piece for Apartment Therapy, have given her a glimpse into the personalities and tastes of her neighbors. It's even given her the chance to interact with some of her new neighbors in a socially distanced manner, such as when a library owner checked her mail and Eubanks was able to share how much she loved the tiny backyard library and that she'd bring some books by soon.

"I moved into my new house during the middle of a pandemic so, unable to actually go door to door and introduce myself, I had to wait for natural encounters, waving from across the street," she told us via email. "But when I found my first Little Free Library, I learned even more about these people that lived around me. I learned about their taste in books by what selections were stocked inside and what their personal taste was depending on the design of each box."

Little Library 2
Credit: Caroline Eubanks

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So far,  Eubanks has dropped off some books from her mom to a Little Free Library in her neighborhood, including A Dog’s Purpose, (though she didn’t read that one herself, "I can’t get into the tearjerkers.") She's also already got her eye on her next pick, The Clasp by Sloane Crosley.

As long as you use precaution when going through the library and touching the library door handles (don't touch your face and sanitize your hands after!) and wash down your book with disinfectant, we can't think of a better way these days to take a little stroll and socially distanced dream vacation—to the magical world of books.