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E-readers and tablets may be showing up in ever more shapes and sizes, but we think the most exciting new way to read books is even more creative--free curbside lending libraries. 

These little wood-and-glass huts stand on dozens of front yards across southern California (as well as nationwide). They operate on the honor system, with people contributing beloved tomes for others to borrow. The Little Free Library system began in Minnesota in 2009; now it?s a national organization seeking to promote literacy by encouraging the building of free book exchanges. 

Little Libraries come in a variety of styles. DIYers may want to build and paint their own from scratch. Or you can purchase one that?s already built, like the Basic ($250), made from customizable weather-resistant plywood. Harry Potter can rest with the likes of Charles Dickens in the Limited Edition Little Red British Phone Booth library ($600), which holds up to 40 books. You can even commission an artist to create one. 

Before you commit to running your own library, check out those nearby: Click here for the organization?s Google-maps directory, which lets you select a geographic area to find addresses. It?s an easy way to turn a whole neighborhood into your new book club.

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