If you ever had the urge to get a book at 3 a.m., the Little Free Library is the way to go.
The "libraries" are miniature version of one-room schoolhouses perched on posts; they contain books for everyone's enjoyment -- no membership or money required.
Elgin resident Anne Faulkner and her husband Roy Czach installed one in their front yard at 1010 Center St. this past July, and have seen the community embrace the concept of sharing books.
"Every time I got out there things have changed. Some books have gone and some books have come," Faulkner said.
According to the organization's website, there are such libraries in Elgin, St. Charles, Batavia, Glen Ellyn and Wheaton. Faulkner said there is another one in Elgin outside Channing Memorial Elementary School, though it's not listed on the website.
The phenomenon started in 2009 in Wisconsin, and has since spread to at least 36 countries with thousands of little libraries.
Faulkner said she found out about it through a Wisconsin-based artist she follows on Facebook. "The very next day I'm like, 'Oh yeah, I'm doing this,'" she said.
People can order the libraries from the organization, but Faulkner and her husband built their own with leftover cedar siding and roof shingles.
Faulkner first stocked it with her own old books, but people have since started contributing their own. It now carries about a dozen books at all times, including fiction, nonfiction and children's books.
"The only taboo is you're not allowed to sell them, because that sort of defeats the purpose. They are out there for anyone to borrow and enjoy," she said.
So why have this when Elgin has a public library?
"It's more intimate, it's more in the neighborhood, it's more social. Plus it's open 24 hours," she said.
For the past two years, Faulkner also has had a poetry box in her front yard, where people can take or leave poems. There are a lot of them in Oregon, she said.
"I was really hoping it would catch on, and people would enjoy it, but I have not seen anyone put another one," she said.
Elgin's Little Free Library is also on Facebook and Foursquare.
Ÿ The Associated Press contributed to this report.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.