Shop Etsy

Little Free Libraries: “You Can’t Steal a Free Book.”

Jun 19, 2012

by Linzee McCray

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

On Christmas morning when I was ten, I was seriously delighted when an inkpad and an adjustable-date rubber stamp tumbled from my Christmas stocking. Combining these two items with index cards and an old recipe-card box meant I had all I needed to play my favorite game: library. I meticulously wrote a card for each of my books, then forced my little sisters to act the role of library patrons and “check out” books, just so I could stamp a due date on the cards with a satisfying thump, alphabetize them, and squirrel them away in my card box. I was a happy camper, though I may have scarred my sisters for life — today we rarely discuss what we’re reading.

While my childhood fantasies of being a librarian never materialized, my love of libraries never waned. That’s why I was enchanted with Little Free Libraries, an idea started by Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, as a tribute to his mom, June A. Bol, a teacher. In 2009, he built a small schoolhouse-shaped structure, filled it with books, and mounted it on a pole.

Since that first structure bearing the sign “Take a book, return a book” appeared in Bol’s front yard, the number of Little Free Libraries has grown to more than 1,500. They can be found in more than 40 states and 20 countries. Bol and his friend Rick Brooks, co-founder of Little Free Libraries, hope to surpass the 2,509 libraries created by steel baron and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. (Of course, Carnegie’s libraries were all life-sized.)

While it’s possible through the Little Free Libraries website to buy finished libraries, as well as plans for creating the structures from new lumber and shingles, original designs and recycled materials are strongly encouraged. Many little libraries resemble large, fanciful birdfeeders; others conjure barns, canoes, or British phone booths and include fanciful touches like mosaics and murals. Most have a plexi-glass front door through which “patrons” can see the 20 to 50 books resting inside. They are water- and weather proof and bear the “Take a book, return a book” inscription Bol attached to his first structure.

Little Free Libraries

A steward with a library.

When a new library “registers” with the Free Little Library organization, it gets an official number and is added to a Google map where patrons can search for nearby libraries, see photos and stories about each library, and find information about the library’s steward — the person who maintains the library and its collection. Stewards report little trouble with Little Free Libraries (as it says on the org’s website, “You can’t steal a free book”). They may occasionally replace a broken door, but most often they say the libraries have helped them get to know neighbors they’ve never met, when they stop to peruse the collection or donate a book.

Little Free Libraries

Discovering a new favorite.

That community connection is a main mission of the organization founded by Bol and Brooks. They also hope the libraries will promote literacy and a love of reading. Patrons seem to delight in donating favorite books, providing their neighbors with a chance to read (and potentially discuss) them. There’s also an opportunity for those who build the structures to come together: architects, scout troops, carpenters, and neighbors can share advice and information on design and construction through the Neighborhood Library Builders Facebook page.

Little Free Libraries

Children enjoying a neighborhood free library.

The libraries benefit more than those in the neighborhood in which they’re built. With the success of Little Free Libraries, the founders created the GIFT (Give It Forward Team), which supports Little Free Libraries in communities that may not be able to afford one. Little Free Libraries also is a strong proponent of public library use — after all, you can only fit so much into a little library.

I know as a child I would have found these book-holding boxes magical (even if they didn’t provide the opportunity to stamp a due date in each volume). And maybe if my sisters and I could meet up at a Little Free Library, free of the requirement that they check out books just because I say so, we’d start talking books again. It’s worth a try.

More Posts on Alternative Economies

4 Featured Comments

  • blainedesign

    Karen Brown from blainedesign said 4 years ago Featured

    Some things -- and some people -- restore your faith in human kind. What a charming concept. It's sort like geocaching -- for knowledge!

  • ME2Designs

    Meg from ME2Designs said 4 years ago Featured

    This is a wonderful project and it's great how the idea has grown so that the program can be utilized throughout the US! In Sarasota, FL the library system has had a "Read it and Pass it on" program for - thousands of used library books & donated books are put on small bookshelves in the transit buses, at public locations throughout the county, etc. Anyone can pick up a book to read and then pass it on to someone else (the books all have a bright yellow Read it and Pass it on sticker on the cover. Also, the library has an annual "One Book - One Community" each summer. Residents can vote on which of six books will be the read, and the winner book is read by the community and then discussed in numerous small group locations. The program expands the world of the reader; then by talking about the book with others in the community adds richness and depth to the experience of reading; with the information strengthening the community, as the sense of community is developed around the shared experience of reading and talking about one great book.

  • LittleAppleNY

    Dione from LittleAppleNY said 4 years ago Featured

    I just love this. I've left so many just-finished books on subway platforms hoping that others may take them and enjoy them. I wish there were cute little boxes to put them in.

  • GraysonDesigns11

    GraysonDesigns11 from GraysonDesigns11 said 4 years ago Featured

    It sounds like this article has planted many seeds for new free libraries. I think they are going to exceed their goal for these little treasures. I have a feeling my family will be contributing as well!

174 comments

  • heatherllevin

    Heather Levin from petticoatplease said 4 years ago

    I love this idea so much! I saw something similar on Treehugger. Those mini-libraries are not only sharing books and the love of reading, but they also beautify the community. Thanks for the great post!

  • KiraFerrer

    Kira Ferrer from KiraFerrer said 4 years ago

    Wonderful idea!

  • mattyhandmadecrafts

    Matejka Max from NattyMatty said 4 years ago

    Fantastic idea!!!

  • StringBeardCraftery

    Stephanie from StringBeardCraftery said 4 years ago

    I was the kind of kid that would read under the covers by night light and wake with the my face still resting on that open book. I am definitely going to put one of these awesome little fixtures in my neighborhood. It really saddens me that fewer and fewer children nowadays have found their way into a book, and that fewer and fewer parents are encouraging their children to read for leisure. I absolutely adore this idea, and am proud to know that I will be a part of it in the near future.

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage said 4 years ago

    Great idea! Especially when library funding is under siege.

  • pinkdixie

    Shannon from pinkdixie said 4 years ago

    This sounds so great and..... my house is right next to the elementary school. Could be a match made in heaven.

  • wwfjr

    Wilbur W from wilbursvintage said 4 years ago

    GREAT Work, and Fantastic IDEA! I thank you, for this Wonderful message.

  • blainedesign

    Karen Brown from blainedesign said 4 years ago Featured

    Some things -- and some people -- restore your faith in human kind. What a charming concept. It's sort like geocaching -- for knowledge!

  • studiorandom

    Dana Seilhan from studiorandom said 4 years ago

    We have something like this at the Clintonville Community Market here in Columbus. It's not an outdoor structure but a shelf just inside the front door. But they could easily move it outside so it was available at all hours. I should put a bug in their ear. And I'm sure we could use another half-dozen of these around town. We have one of the country's best public library systems, but that doesn't mean people don't still want to own books as well.

  • lavenderave

    Jennifer from lavenderave said 4 years ago

    thanks for the fabulous post on these amazing little local libraries! My son is hoping to build one of the Little Free Libraries and install it at a local bus transit center as his Eagle Project. We sure hope that the transportation people will like the idea as well as we do!

  • Jadessugartree

    Karla from Jadessugartree said 4 years ago

    This is so charming! I love books and love to read. I will build one of this and register it. I think my neighborhood will like it! Awesome idea and great message!

  • volkerwandering

    Jess from volkerwandering said 4 years ago

    I think this is how libraries should be. Very few books do I want to read over & over, so it would be nice to trade them out for new ones, free of charge!

  • whatemilymakes

    Emily E. from ZiggyAndZoop said 4 years ago

    What an amazing idea!

  • FannyElizabethDesign

    Diane Elizabeth from FannyElizabethDesign said 4 years ago

    Amazing! I am so inspired... thank you:)

  • theheirloomaddict

    theheirloomaddict from TheHeirloomAddict said 4 years ago

    Very Inspirational!

  • klb00e

    Mother Lark from MotherLark said 4 years ago

    This is the most amazing thing! Community, learning, trust, and cuteness! I love it. Way to go Little Free Libraries.

  • ImYourNonny

    holly mcgee from ImYourNonny said 4 years ago

    What a great idea!!! I'm thinking of children who might be reluctant readers...books presented in such a way...housed in fairy-like wee settings...might have a whole new appeal for them!!!

  • CafePrimrose

    Amanda Gynther from CafePrimrose said 4 years ago

    Fabulous! If the US government won't give us access to free education, we just give it to ourselves and share it amongst us all! Beautiful article and fantastic concept! I am in love! I will buy one of these when i get home and set it up in my front yard.

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 4 years ago

    That is awesome! My 7 year old daughter loves to read and we go to the library every week. She would think this is so cool!!!

  • bagladybooty

    bagladybooty from bagladybooty said 4 years ago

    What a wonderful project. I'm a freelance writer, and also an avid reader. I never knew about this project. I appreciate your post. I only wish, that I'd thought of this innovative idea first!

  • LaMeowVintage

    Regan from LaMeowVintage said 4 years ago

    Cute and clever idea.

  • AHSC

    Amy from AHSC said 4 years ago

    Love this idea! I would have be thrilled to have something like this to visit when I was little (ok... I still would!)

  • hypericumfragile

    Monika from hypericumfragile said 4 years ago

    Fantastic idea! Thank you!

  • ErikaPrice

    Erika from ErikaPrice said 4 years ago

    What an amazing idea! We have so many books I have to hide new ones from DH, and this is a fantastic way to re-use and recycle something that lots of people love. Would you mind if I adopted your idea (but on a very much smaller and local scale) in my village?

  • Ebrown2503

    Eleanore from FiberBeads said 4 years ago

    People are SO awesome! Don't ever EVER let go of your library, modest as it might be. Can you imagine trying to find funding for the concept of libraries in this day and age? If we tried to invent it now, it would be a very hard sell. Kudos to Todd Bol and his beautiful mom for this wonderful spot of humanity.

  • littlehouseshoppe

    littlehouseshoppe from littlehouseshoppe said 4 years ago

    Such a wonderful idea! I think I will start one in my community!

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery said 4 years ago

    Great idea, love the concept of being able to loan and replace books in the community a nice way of sharing books you love!

  • Reallycricket

    Cricket Vauthier Roemer from ReallyCricket said 4 years ago

    I love this idea! What a wonderful way to share books with your community.

  • 4EnvisioningVintage

    Tracy from 4EnvisioningVintage said 4 years ago

    As a book worm myself I love this idea! Shared ~

  • PinkCheetahVintage

    PinkCheetahVintage from PinkCheetahVintage said 4 years ago

    This is so awesome!!!

  • laurastark

    Laura Stark from laurastark said 4 years ago

    I love the concept of “Take a book, return a book”! My best book find was in a hotel in Rome. The in room shelf housed books of all languages for people to take and leave. I left with an amazing book by a British author!

  • vitamini

    Casey Starks from vitamini said 4 years ago

    That's so cool! I know if I had one in my neighborhood I'd donate to it frequently. I have two librarians in my family (my sis and my mom) and since I've moved to a more walkable town find myself taking strolls to the local library once a week! Libraries are wonderful resources and have so much to offer patrons. And these mini libraries are great little local resources for books, sharing, and community pride.

  • PopLoveCouture

    Shai Wallach from PopLoveCouture said 4 years ago

    This is an absolutely spectacular initiative. For years, I've hunted down street corners looking for those little boxes of books people leave out when they're closet-cleaning or moving. There's so many spectacular little novels - some trashy, some bizarre and just every so often, some amazing little books. Used books have such a character to them, as much as I love my tablet, I don't think I'll ever stop reading real books. I love this initiative - it's got all the charm of those corner boxes, with a little more respect and a lot more protection from the elements!

  • windycitynovelties

    Windy City Novelties said 4 years ago

    This is such a great idea! I just checked and there isn't one Lake County, IL at all. I think this should change soon! Thanks for the share!

  • PatternsAndPlans

    PatternsAndPlans from PatternsAndPlans said 4 years ago

    Great idea, especially for rural communities. However, I hope it doesn't eventually replace our libraries.

  • gallerydarrow

    Rochelle Darrow from gallerydarrow said 4 years ago

    I LOVE this!

  • VintageBowBoutique

    Kathryn Ryan from VintageBowBoutique said 4 years ago

    What an amazing idea! I love how it seems to bring communities together more!

  • reflectionsjewelry

    Emily Delfin from reflectionsjewelry said 4 years ago

    Wonderful idea! Iooking to see if there is one in my area..................

  • SalvatoCollection

    Amanda from SalvatoCollection said 4 years ago

    Best Idea EVER!!!!

  • buttagal

    LC from cafedebutta said 4 years ago

    What a fantastic idea. More communities need to do this!

  • eatlllagar

    Desirea Holton from eatAGAR said 4 years ago

    Yea! I want to start one in Georgetown, but the library here is already pretty rockin'. Maybe if I move to Silver Plume...

  • loopyboopy

    loopy from loopyboopy said 4 years ago

    I have one of these in my neighborhood and I love it!

  • elitas

    Carol from elitasvintage said 4 years ago

    love love love!

  • BlueSquiggle

    Monique Flannagan from BlueSquiggle said 4 years ago

    Awesome project! Can't believe there isn't one of these in SD or the OC!

  • scrapbookcompleted

    Janelle Dauenhauer from scrapbookcompleted said 4 years ago

    What a great idea! Someone started one in our community, I just haven't visited it yet!

  • MaggiePaggieDesigns

    Rebecca from MaggiePaggieDesigns said 4 years ago

    What a beautiful story - love this!

  • lythamsnowdrops

    Lauren Kinter from lythamsnowdrops said 4 years ago

    One of these just popped up at our neighborhood park!

  • maaretsinkko

    maaret sinkko from maaretsinkko said 4 years ago

    thank you foir sharing this amazing story! now I am inspired to do the same...so many books so little time. my son told me the other day 'i love books' and i thought...my work here is done!

  • ME2Designs

    Meg from ME2Designs said 4 years ago Featured

    This is a wonderful project and it's great how the idea has grown so that the program can be utilized throughout the US! In Sarasota, FL the library system has had a "Read it and Pass it on" program for - thousands of used library books & donated books are put on small bookshelves in the transit buses, at public locations throughout the county, etc. Anyone can pick up a book to read and then pass it on to someone else (the books all have a bright yellow Read it and Pass it on sticker on the cover. Also, the library has an annual "One Book - One Community" each summer. Residents can vote on which of six books will be the read, and the winner book is read by the community and then discussed in numerous small group locations. The program expands the world of the reader; then by talking about the book with others in the community adds richness and depth to the experience of reading; with the information strengthening the community, as the sense of community is developed around the shared experience of reading and talking about one great book.

  • slathered

    Sharon Moores from slathered said 4 years ago

    I really want to do this! (And as a former newspaper editor, I love the picture of the old newspaper box that's been turned into one.) This is also a great solution to the unmanageable pile of books that takes over the basement stairs before I get to the used-book store.

  • cookbookthe1

    Luis Gutierrez from BeingStrange said 4 years ago

    Very cool!

  • Caitiec23

    Caitie and Jamie C. from NuitHiboux said 4 years ago

    What a nice idea!

  • LavenderThimble

    Michelle from LavenderThimble said 4 years ago

    This is such a great idea! Thanks for posting this. Whenever I land into my new neighborhood, I would love to set one up. I've been trying to figure out what to do with the books that I've read for my book club, and this is the perfect solution.

  • lovelyfeverboutique

    Jessica from LovelyFever said 4 years ago

    What an amazing article! I had no idea that there were these adorable "little libraries" all over the country! I really love the concept of a little community library and will be sure to try to find more information about them to see if there is any way to get involved. I also can relate to how the article author would play "library" as a child-- as a life-long avid reader myself, I too used to play a similar game when I was a kid.

  • lovelyfeverboutique

    Jessica from LovelyFever said 4 years ago

    What an amazing article! I had no idea that these "little libraries" existed and were all over the country! I will be sure to find out more about these and see if there is any way to get involved. I also loved how the author of the article wrote about playing "library" as a child--as a life-long avid reader myself, I too used to play librarian with my books and sisters as a kid. Thanks for sharing. This put a smile on my face!

  • LittleAppleNY

    Dione from LittleAppleNY said 4 years ago Featured

    I just love this. I've left so many just-finished books on subway platforms hoping that others may take them and enjoy them. I wish there were cute little boxes to put them in.

  • Shortsupply

    Candi from Shortsupply said 4 years ago

    I did the EXACT same thing with my adjustable date stamp as a kid!!! ;)

  • karenthimot

    Karen Thimot said 4 years ago

    This a precious idea! A place to lovingly share the passion of reading.... how about that!

  • picklevalentine

    Libby Stone from PickleValentine said 4 years ago

    How did I miss this? Maybe dh and I will make one.

  • BonTons

    BonTons from BonTons said 4 years ago

    Love this! Such a wonderful idea

  • mimishingleton

    Mimi from aTreasureInStore said 4 years ago

    I want to do this! My little free library would be shaped like a tobacco barn and start off with Little House on the Prairie books...my favs in elementary school.

  • DaisyandFlorrie

    Sue from DaisyandFlorrie said 4 years ago

    L O V E !

  • msbibliotecaria

    Adriana the Librarian from labiblioteca said 4 years ago

    Well as a librarian myself, I absolutely love this idea. I want one in my neighborhood!! :)

  • oceanityhandmade

    Michelle Cornelison from oceanityhandmade said 4 years ago

    Amazing! Thanks for such a good post.

  • LayOffTheBooks

    Cathy from LayOffTheBooks said 4 years ago

    I love this idea, great post! I've seen similar projects before, it's a wonderful way to share your love of reading.

  • fibrous

    Thea from fibrous said 4 years ago

    What a really sweet idea! btw, I played bookseller with my siblings...

  • HelloMountains

    Audrey from HelloMountains said 4 years ago

    clever and cute!!! We need to make this in France!

  • Mitmunk

    Mitmunk Design from Mitmunk said 4 years ago

    These are so fantastic, supported simply by the idea of sharing resources. There is one of these along our daily route that we frequent. We can always find a diverse range of books in there, and when we have books we're done with, it's nice to be able to contribute something back to the book cupboard. The bottom shelf is reserved for children's books :)

  • MadeAtNanasHouse

    Made At Nana's from MadeAtNanasHouse said 4 years ago

    I thought this post was one of the best I have ever read, thank you, for the first time ever, I posted a post to my facebook.. that is how great I thougth this one is. My family owens two stores here in the mountains of Az. I just showed Papa this posting to tell him "this is your "SUNDAY" projects" to make to have in front of both of our stores.. what a fantastic ideal, thank you so much for sharing it with the world... Nana

  • gardenmis

    Priscilla from Gardenmis said 4 years ago

    Such a lovely idea!! I loved volunteering in my school library as a young girl and my love of books has never waned either.

  • ElenaMary

    Elena Mary Siff from ElenaMary said 4 years ago

    Wonderful! Great project for kids...to create their own free library structure and manage it...in the virtual world our kids live in too often, a real free book can be a treasure!

  • AnnmarieScottSilver

    Annmarie Scott from AllAboutStory said 4 years ago

    Love it! What a wonderful thing to do...I can see these little free Libraries popping up around school communities too - an extension of 'book swaps' that take place with friends. What is a good book if not well thumbed! Cheers :)

  • LineaLina

    Susanne Major from LineaLina said 4 years ago

    Such a cute thing! What a marvelous idea!

  • PinkDragonflyCrafts

    Rocky from PinkDragonflyCrafts said 4 years ago

    I love this idea, it is just lovely. I would delight in the opportunity to participate in one of these little libraries. Libraries don't seem to get much love nowadays. A little stand like this might entice a new reader who might otherwise be intimidated by a public library to pick out a book and discover the joys of reading. Movies and video games cannot compete with a good book (and this is coming from a game freak and movie lover!). :)

  • noaost

    Noa Osterreicher from noasjewelry said 4 years ago

    Oh, that is so wonderful

  • HelloShoes

    HelloShoes from HelloShoes said 4 years ago

    I love this idea. I also love my library...They have a starbucks..not kidding:)

  • shuqi

    Emily Lim from shuqi said 4 years ago

    love the idea. hope my town will have this also.:)

  • Iammie

    iammie from iammie said 4 years ago

    Lovely!

  • PoetryofObjects

    PoetryofObjects from PoetryofObjects said 4 years ago

    Just simply wonderful! We're going to create one of these little bits of magic! Thank you so much for the article...and for the idea of community!

  • redemptionart

    Connie Haskell from redemptionart said 4 years ago

    OMG! I thought I was the only kid "neighborhood librarian" LOL! I even went as far as inviting neighborhood friends over to "borrow" my books...it really worked! I am in love with this...on my "must do" list! Thanks!

  • AshleighEllan

    Ashleigh-ellan Kavanagh from AshleighEllan said 4 years ago

    Can't believe there is only ONE of these in the UK. I'll be making a change to that!

  • warnellcreations

    warnellcreations from warnellcreations said 4 years ago

    That is a wonderful concept! I absolutely love to read and I am at my local library at least 2 to 3 times each week. The library is a great source for books, magazines and CD's/DVD's for my business.

  • warnellcreations

    warnellcreations from warnellcreations said 4 years ago

    That is a great concept! I absolutely love to read. I go to my local library at least 2 to 3 times each week. The library is a great resource for books, CD's/DVD's for my business.

  • DressEmporium

    DressEmporium said 4 years ago

    What a unique and amazing idea!

  • PattiTrostle

    Patti Trostle from PattiTrostle said 4 years ago

    Love it!!

  • rivahside

    rivahside said 4 years ago

    I'm sure Ben Franklin would be impressed!

  • my2handsstudio

    Donna from my2handsstudio said 4 years ago

    Being a library lover myself, since the time as a small child,and to this day checking out ten to fifteen books at a time. I love this idea and will see if my husband will build one for me.

  • lcarlsonjewelry

    Liesl Carlson from lcarlsonjewelry said 4 years ago

    I heard about this awhile ago and thought it was the most wonderful idea. I am a avid library goer as is my three year old son. This is amazing!!!

  • GraysonDesigns11

    GraysonDesigns11 from GraysonDesigns11 said 4 years ago Featured

    It sounds like this article has planted many seeds for new free libraries. I think they are going to exceed their goal for these little treasures. I have a feeling my family will be contributing as well!

  • samsnatural

    Sam's Natural from SamsNatural said 4 years ago

    That is co cute! Might have to have one of our own :)

  • treasurebooth

    Kelly from treasurebooth said 4 years ago

    So neat--I saw one of those pop up in my former neighborhood of Edmonds, WA just before I moved out of state. What a fun concept and sweet tribute! PS Your first paragraph made me smile--I played library too! Such satisfaction from rubber stamps, blank cards, and a stack of old books :)

  • haneyjo

    JO Haney from Mixxr said 4 years ago

    Great idea !

  • AvasYellowRainBoots

    April Foss from AvasYellowRainBoots said 4 years ago

    What a sweet idea!

  • EmiliaFaith

    Edie Ann from OhHoneyHush said 4 years ago

    Wow, What a wonderful idea!! :)

  • BlueMoonLights

    Alexandra Simons from BlueMoonLights said 4 years ago

    What a great idea! Thank you for the post :)

  • PyxusPassionProject

    Michelle Maynard from SimonesRoseBoutique said 4 years ago

    How awesome is that?! Fantastic.. thanks for sharing!!

  • shopgoodgrace

    Teresa from shopgoodgrace said 4 years ago

    Incredibly inspiring! Thank you for sharing - and spreading the word... what a wonderful way to build "community" - and foster goodwill.

  • FWBluxuries

    Krissy Joy from FWBluxuries said 4 years ago

    YES! this is great!

  • customizeBaby

    Custom Baby from customizeBaby said 4 years ago

    BEAUTIFULLLLLLLLLLLLL CREATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • StudioBotanica

    Cristy Beck from StudioBotanica said 4 years ago

    This post just warms my heart, how cool.

  • myMountainStudio

    Nikki Weiss from myMountainStudio said 4 years ago

    What a neat concept. My husband and I have so many books, I've often thought it would be neat to have a small private library with them so others could benefit from our collection as well. (We had someone in a nearby town do that in the past.) This would be a neat way to do that someday if we end up in a better location for doing so. Would be quite interesting indeed. Thanks for sharing the idea... I'm bookmarking it for future use. :)

  • montanagirl

    Carmen from MontanaGirl said 4 years ago

    Our elementary school holds a used book sale every year and each child is allowed to pick out one book for free. Watching them choose just the right one was one of my favorite experiences as a volunteer. Books are a powerful thing.

  • bettylamberson1

    Betty Lamberson from StongateCottage said 4 years ago

    This is a wonderful idea! we hope to build one of these on the grounds of our Depot Museum..of course in the shape of a minature train depot! Our tiny town does not have a public library, even though we have a reading corner in our Museum, the nearest library, except of course the school library, the nearest Public library is 10 -12 miles away.

  • ccruze25

    Caroline Haynie from PoorLittleButterfly said 4 years ago

    This is a marvelous idea! I have enjoyed reading since I was a little girl. I can't think of a better way to give back to the young kids in my neighborhood! I'm going to look into my subdivision's Home Owners Association to see if it is allowed! I love the idea of sharing books. They truly are magical. Thank's for the great post!

  • RodaLuLu

    Rhonda from RodaLuLu said 4 years ago

    I would love to sponsor one of these in my community. So inspiring.

  • pezzazz

    pezzazz from pezzazz said 4 years ago

    This is the nicest things I've seen all day! I would so love to do this, but how to make it work in a condo complex? Perhaps in my next home.

  • pezzazz

    pezzazz from pezzazz said 4 years ago

    *thing

  • birdie1

    Laurie from BirdinHandVTG said 4 years ago

    One of the sweetest things I've ever seen! What an inspiration!

  • Lyla79

    Ionelia Liliana Balan from Victoar said 4 years ago

    very good ideea; good luck :)

  • lollyjodesigns

    Stacey B from lollyjodesigns said 4 years ago

    This is so great!! I'm going to check out the one 20 minutes from my house, and bring a few books I'm done with. Thanks for sharing this!

  • cottonbirddesigns

    Angela Cotton from CottonBirdDesigns said 4 years ago

    Lovely article!

  • RavensCrafts

    Jane from RavensCrafts said 4 years ago

    Awesome! I'm going to do this!

  • bordellobarrettes

    bordellobarrettes from bordellobarrettes said 4 years ago

    My sister and I used to play library too! What a great article and idea!

  • fbstudiovt

    Laura Hale from FoundBeautyStudioArt said 4 years ago

    A dear friend of mine who was an insatiable reader and a frequent lender of books, died suddenly a few days ago. I'm going to build a little library for my front yard in his memory. He would have loved this idea.

  • hollygatto

    hollygatto from hollygatto said 4 years ago

    What a wonderful idea! I love it!

  • ScrapHappyLyrebird

    Tess from GildedNotes said 4 years ago

    I love when you realize that you weren't the only one who did something others found a little strange as a child! I too had my own "library" at the end of the hallway called the "Ladybug Library" (the only stamp I owned was a ladybug shape). Thank for sharing your story as well as introducing me to this awesome concept...I'm off to Google to see if there are any near me!

  • SETdesign

    S.E.T. from SETdesign said 4 years ago

    This is a fantastic idea! I am completed jazzed about the whole concept and already have several ideas on how I will construct one. Now, to my sketchbook and workshop to make this happen! Can't wait!! @Meg - I live right next door to you and had no idea Sarasota had a program like that! I am definitely going to check it out and see if I can get involved.

  • louieirn

    louieirn said 4 years ago

    Love this idea but right now I live in a neighborhood that won't allow one. BUT I will be building my own Library at my next home that will hopefully be in the Seatle area... someday!! Thanks for sharing!!

  • TheSeaCottage

    TheSeaCottage from TheSeaCottage said 4 years ago

    OMG! This is great! I've long been a library advocate, and even worked in one for awhile, but I love the idea of people offering this to their neighborhoods. I'm going to see what I can do to start up one.....C:

  • TheSeaCottage

    TheSeaCottage from TheSeaCottage said 4 years ago

    I love this idea! I've long been a library advocate, and even worked in one for awhile, but this is a convenient idea for people in neighborhoods who don't visit the library because it's too far out of the way. Thanks for sharing this.....

  • BCbuzz

    BCbuzz from BCbuzz said 4 years ago

    Love this concept, curiosity keeps us young!

  • annyschoo

    anny schoo from linenclothingbyanny said 4 years ago

    Neat idea! Love the story.

  • accidentalcharm

    Sandra Park-Callaghan from accidentalcharm said 4 years ago

    YAY! i'm going to go buy the one in my town today. this is awesome. :)

  • hmeyerboothby

    Heather Meyer Boothby from TheHalfKnittedPine said 4 years ago

    Your blogs are absolutely the B-E-S-T!! Fellow Iowegian, you make me proud to wear the yellow and black!!

  • KABowtique

    Karla from KABowtique said 4 years ago

    I'm in love with this idea! It would be an amazing project :)

  • Birchangel

    Joylyn McChesnie from BirchangelPinatas said 4 years ago

    I saw these on the local news a while back....great idea!

  • TheUglyBarnFarm

    TheUglyBarnFarm from TheUglyBarnFarm said 4 years ago

    I read about these on the TinyHouseBlog featured on there just today! Very cool idea.

  • pascal4aqua

    Merle Pace from MerlePaceArts said 4 years ago

    ack-love this! a dream come true to read about this! i have been wanting to do something like this and wasn't sure how to go about it-thanks so much for the inspiration!

  • LilsvilleNY

    arica mann and angie toscano from LilsvilleNY said 4 years ago

    What a fantastic idea! I saw one of these in a neighbor's yard and wondered about it, but didn't want to venture onto their property. Now I will check it out! :)

  • laurahdrapac

    Laura H. Drapac from laurahdrapac said 4 years ago

    This is so enchanting! I liken it to the recent wave of pop-up galleries and abandoned storefront installation spaces... something wonderful for nothing!

  • esmeelynne

    Lynne Grant-Tull from esmeelynne said 4 years ago

    Awesome!

  • jadedgoats

    Judy Wright from JudithGayleDesigns said 4 years ago

    What a wonderful story! Thank you!

  • retroheart

    Jennifer Klem from retroheart said 4 years ago

    This is awesome! There's a similar type thing that geocachers do (called Bookcrossing), but this is SO much cuter! :D I'm going to start bugging DH to make me one.

  • AlbredasAttic

    AlbredasAttic from AlbredasAttic said 4 years ago

    While I love this idea, and will most likely try to find a good location for one in our neighborhood (we don't get a lot of foot traffic on our street), here in Baltimore we also have something that has cropped up in several cities now (I believe). The project is a totally non-profit, donation driven, volunteer run "library" where no return is required. It is called the "Baltimore Book Thing" and books are collected from donations, stamped with "this is a free book, not for resale", then sorted into genres and placed out on shelving made of simple 2x4s in an old garage off of Greenmount Avenue. You can come in any weekend and gather all of the magazines, books, VHS, cassettes, cds, dvds, etc. that you desire for your school, church, scout troop, or just yourself. All that they ask is that you print your name and how many books you are taking on a ledger so that they can help account for where the books find a home. (For some of their grants and such, I think.) They gladly accept any donation and cheerfully accept volunteers of any kind. I have "turned on" so many people to this project and continue to cheerlead for it at every turn. Search online for a "book thing" near you (as I understand we are not the only city with one). And PLEASE never throw away a book! If you can't do something like these lovely micro libraries, at least donate them to a school, library, or even the Goodwill. Keep reading, folks!

  • ellabellap

    Ella Parker said 4 years ago

    I love love love it!!!! Such appealing houses for the books will attract attention.

  • HulaGirl1922

    Margarita from HulaGirl1922 said 4 years ago

    "Books gives us a place to go ... when we have to stay where we are..." and a book is gift that can be opened again and again... I ♥ the Free Little Libraries thank you for all that are making it happen...best wishes xoxoxo

  • MyWisteriaCottage

    MyWisteriaCottage from MyWisteriaCottage said 4 years ago

    This is a wonderful idea.

  • liddysopretty

    liddy sopretty from liddysopretty said 4 years ago

    Neat idea!!

  • kaffeekatze

    Kannis from KaffeeKatze said 4 years ago

    Wonderful idea! Love!

  • violetpretty

    violetpretty said 4 years ago

    So cool!

  • iowajewel

    julie macneil from iowajewel said 4 years ago

    i love this and would love to have one in our town!

  • ElaHonore

    ElaHonore from ElaHonore said 4 years ago

    What a wonderful story and an awesome idea. Thank you!

  • cyasarcan

    Canan from Zembil said 4 years ago

    I love those little libraries. Great post!

  • Mocahete

    Sabrina and Dante Acevedo from Mocahete said 4 years ago

    Such a wonderful idea!

  • kibblesnknits

    Nancy from kibblesnknits said 4 years ago

    Someone put one of these up in my neighborhood about a year ago. Everyone was talking about it and loving it so much!

  • yimmekedesign

    Diana from yimmekedesign said 4 years ago

    Such s delightful idea. I had to laugh about you wanting to be a librarian Linzee. That is exactly what I wanted be when I was little. I LOVED the way the librarian stamped the date on the little yellow cards and the way she shoved the card back in the book's little envelope. So much did I think back about this when I was older, that I bought a big box of library book pockets from a book store going out of business. I still wonder why that profession was so attractive to me, as I definitely did not fit the character of a stuffy little book mouse. I think I was more in awe of being around people who where interested in acquiring knowledge.

  • dannylion

    Lauryn Quinn from thefrolickingfrog said 4 years ago

    Too cool! Just went on the site to see more of these pretty little book houses. They are so cute! The books look so happy in them :) Such an awesome idea. Love it.

  • cchumney

    Christle Chumney said 4 years ago

    I am a librarian and had never heard of this project. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • newtonsfigs

    newtonsfigs said 4 years ago

    I LOVE this concept! I want one in my yard!!!!!!!

  • nowvintage

    Bobbie from nowvintage said 4 years ago

    I love this too!! Something that people of all ages can relate to but absolutely magical for kids!! In this day of technology it is a perfect time for a low tech thing such as this..I live a bit more remote, I will have to find someone in town to talk into this so I can do one!!! :)

  • isoscele

    isoscele from isoscele said 4 years ago

    Great Idea

  • zafuchi

    Sarah Zafuist from ZafuChi said 4 years ago

    What a fantastic thing to do! I live in an isolated rural area now but as soon as I get into a more populated area I will definitely want to give something like this a try!

  • jasminerose

    Jasmine Rose from jasminerose said 4 years ago

    I drive by one in my neighborhood every day, and I have always wondered what it was all about. Thanks for sharing!

  • dearmysoul

    May Scarmazzi from maymazzi said 4 years ago

    I made one of these back in 2007, using an old newspaper box that was no longer in use (other than as a trashcan...). I repainted it, decorated, made a sign and filled it with books. Within 3 days it was destroyed and all the books gone, i even found some in the trashcan nearby. Hopefully this one is in a better neighborhood, i love the concept of tiny libraries.

  • GoldenSpiralDesigns

    Lola Ocian from GoldenSpiralDesigns said 4 years ago

    Cute idea! I love the newspaper box - turned free library. What a great alternative to boring news. Books are better!

  • vegasblingrocks

    Judy Murphy from vegasblingrocks said 4 years ago

    To May Hunter: NEVER GIVE UP, you too are a great inspiration for literacy. Hopefully the culprits are now mature and sorry and just might even help you make another one. "If you build it they will come .... "

  • vegasblingrocks

    Judy Murphy from vegasblingrocks said 4 years ago

    To May Hunter: NEVER GIVE UP! You too are a wonderful inspiration for promoting literacy and giving back. Maybe the culprits are sorry and just might even help contribute to it. "If you build it they will come ..... " Best wishes!

  • BeatriceCLaNore

    Brittany Hodgson from BeatriceCLaNore said 4 years ago

    What a wonderful idea. I love it!

  • Chifonie

    Chifonie from Chifonie said 4 years ago

    I would love to live near such a lovely free library !

  • lesliewatkins3

    Leslie Watkins said 4 years ago

    Linzee, Thanks so much for your wonderful words about Little Free Library! Your piece brought a lot of new visitors to our website! Sincere thanks, Leslie lwatkins@littlefreelibrary.org

  • metroretrovintage

    metroretrovintage from metroretrovintage said 4 years ago

    I love this idea. There is a free bookshelf in my laundry room, and have both borrowed from it, and donated to it. It's a wonderful way to circulate books and spread the joy of reading.

  • scal12

    Payson A from SecondStarDesignCo said 4 years ago

    Such a cute idea, thank you for sharing! I'd never seen those before, and I love how it promotes community trust and a love of reading. I also love your story about "playing librarian"-- how cute!

  • BrittneyWest

    Brittney West from BrittneyWest said 4 years ago

    What a wonderful idea! I would love to incorporate a Free Library in my town! "Let the beauty of what you love be what you do."--Rumi

  • dunne1

    Lisa Dunne-Jackson from RoofTopCreations said 4 years ago

    I sent this to my sister who is a librarian here in NJ! I think this is a great idea and I really want to put one up in my neighborhood. My family talked aboiut it at dinner tonight and my 13 year old son, who is at a very cynical age, said, "you know, Mom, people probably won't follow the rules and someone will probably come and just steal all of the books at once!" I was able to use the quote from the article title and said, "But they're all free. You can't steal a free book!" "And besides," I said, "maybe the people who steal all the books might actually read them!" "Hmm," he said, "I think that would be neat!."

  • oldish

    oldish from oldish said 4 years ago

    I actually studied library science, but never worked as a librarian even if my heart is still with Dewey, seeing this warms my bookish me.

  • RamblinRiver

    Jessi from RamblinRiver said 4 years ago

    Great story! My dad just retired and he lives across from the school bus barn. I think this is his next project. It may need to be a little bigger though.

  • lkmccray

    Linzee from lkmccray said 4 years ago

    Love all the enthusiasm for Little Free Libraries (and libraries in general). Hope many new ones come to fruition. And I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one who loved playing library.

  • ernie50

    ernie from ernie50 said 4 years ago

    I love this. When I was little my Mom would always take me to the library and my Dad worked for a company that would throw away books that had some damage, so he would bring them home to us. Books were very Important in our family. I like you would also play library at home and still have some of the books I stamped. Books have always been my comfort and connection to both my parents. There is nothing better than having a book in your hands and not via cyberspace to read. Thanks for keeping that alive through your lovely little libraries. Maybe we can start one in Texas, but with this heat we would have to install a mini air conditoner...

  • lesliewatkins3

    Leslie Watkins said 4 years ago

    For more information on Little Free Libraries visit our web-site: www.littlefreelibrary.org

  • CrazyEyeFusedGlass

    CrazyEyeFusedGlass from CrazyEyeFusedGlass said 4 years ago

    I've got one of these! Wish we lived on a street with more traffic, but everyone is welcome!

  • spacefem

    spacefem from spacefem said 4 years ago

    I built one of these too! It's been getting great traffic, I just love it! http://www.facebook.com/WichitaLittleFreeLibrary

  • LCooperDesigns

    LC Cooper from LeMaisonBelle said 4 years ago

    AWESOME!!!

  • janicej

    Janice Jong from janicej said 4 years ago

    Such a fun and creative way to share books. Nice to see there's one here in the UK.

  • HoneyBeeHolistics

    Melissa from HoneyBeeHolistics said 4 years ago

    Anything to promote reading! Knowledge is free and should be shared with all!

Sign in to add your own