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Introducing a free tiny library from the Statesman and Texas Book Festival

Find curated reads on the little shelf at the Statesman Bat Observation Center

Michael Barnes
The American-Statesman and Texas Book Festival unveiled a tiny library at the Statesman Bat Observation Center in August 2019. [AMANDA O'DONNELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

You have spotted them in neighborhoods all over the city — whimsical little libraries that offer free books to passersby. They are often shaped like elf-sized houses with transparent doors that allow one to scan the titles inside.

Now, the American-Statesman, in partnership with the Texas Book Festival, has brought such an outpost to our own backyard. On Aug. 15, we unveiled our tiny library at the Statesman Bat Observation Center, next to the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. For many years, the grounds of Austin’s daily newspaper have attracted crowds that watch swirls of Mexican free-tailed bats, which emerge from under the bridge near dusk during the warm months.

Inside the tiny library, people will find books curated by the Statesman's features staff and Julie Wernersbach, the literary director for the Texas Book Festival. Visitors are also encouraged to leave a book if they take one out, but it's certainly not required. The festival also partners with the Statesman on a monthly roundup of recommended books. 

“It’s all about sharing the books that other folks love and you love, and connecting through that joy of reading,” Wernersbach said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“It’s going to be fantastic reads, all the time,” said Sara Bryant, marketing director at the Statesman. “Enjoy! Come to bat hill!”

Visit the tiny library to find your new favorite book. Join the Austin360 Book Club Facebook group at to discuss it with your fellow readers.