It’s The Little Things (Even Libraries)

I’ll start at the beginning.

A few years back I spotted a small, neighborhood library in the nearby community of Campbell. I was smitten! I went back to drop off books, then returned again with my husband. After seeing the library and doing some research, I knew I wanted one too.

little free library campbell, california

Little Free Library, Campbell, California Steward: Carmencita Valerio

In keeping with the tenets of the Little Free Library movement, we started looking for recycled materials. We spotted something that would work at a garage sale, but we mulled it over for too long and it was gone.

Enter my friend Nick, who’s a master carpenter extraordinaire. Nick built our Little Free Library (LFL) from reclaimed redwood fencing and deck material. Perfection.

little free library history collage

Little Free Library Construction and Design: Nick Timmermann Steward: Alys Milner

The books flow in, the books flow out, and an entire community of readers stop by daily to give or take a book. The motto is “Take a book, return a book” with the understanding that you can do either. I’m considered the library steward, but the library belongs to the community.

About six months later my friend Mary Elizabeth asked, perhaps tongue in cheek, “When are you going to build a Little Free Library for your fairy garden?”

miniature little free library

Miniature Little Free Library in the Fairy Garden

How could I resist that challenge? So I did, and of course I blogged about it here.

Fast forward to last November. I received one of those WordPress notifications saying that my (Little)Little Free Library post had a spike in views. Someone shared my post on the official Little Free Library Facebook Page and that’s how I met Carrie Marie.

Carrie is a library steward in Winston-Salem, Massachusetts.  When she saw the Facebook post, she asked if “the artist”…referring to me (blush) would make one. Delighted, I offered to make one as a gift after I recovered from surgery.

Here’s what she said:

Hi Alys,
I would be happy to pay for supplies needed to make us a tiny LFL! My husband and I are in the process of adopting through foster care here in NC and we have Little Free Library #11934. We’d like to teach the child about the concept of the LFL and are incorporating it into other things. I’m very appreciative of your offer! The one you made is darling!!!!!

What a gracious soul! So over the last few weeks, I’ve been plotting and planning and constructing a miniature replica of Carrie Marie’s Little Free Library.

Here is a sneak peek:

Miniature Blue Little Free Library

Miniature Blue Little Free Library

I’m writing a second post with details of how I made it, along with the stories that go with each tiny book.

It’s been a blast!

Stay tuned.

41 thoughts on “It’s The Little Things (Even Libraries)

  1. What a blast!! How extremely excellent and also how very serendipitous that you have time to dream, plan, create something like this right now 🙂 I just knew there would be a silver lining to being immobilised!! It looks just gorgeous Alys – and of course you are an artist!! I shall look forward very much to reading your post on how you created it.

    Liked by 4 people

    • You are such a cheerleader, Pauline. Thank you! I did spend a lot of time thinking about, trying out and then abandoning ideas. Once I got the shape I wanted it all fell into place and I was in the zone. One idea lead to another. You’ll appreciate the little story behind one of the faux books. Thank you for saying I’m an artist. I think of you as an artist. I’m someone who’s crafty. More to follow shortly.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, Alys. Just wow. That tinny library is so cute. Both of them. And the big one is something as well. It’s really neat that your post got reposted and this was the result. I look forward to learning what’s in the books!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Lisa. You made my day. I love having a Little Free Library at our curb. I never tire of seeing people stop to pick up a book. I’ve loosely tried to keep it half adults and half kids and for the most part people follow along. It’s been two years now and I still get excited about it.

      As for the miniature libraries, they were both a joy to create.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello sweet sweet Alys. I’m not surprised that your Little LFL caught the eye of another generous neighbour in North Carolina. What a fun and fabulous way to make a new friend. I’m certain she was smitten to receive your latest creation. It’s adorable and I can even imagine how you make those little books that look so much like their giant counterparts. Will you be sharing that little secret? I look forward to catching all the lovely details soon. I’m looking at the tiny door and marvelling at the hinges and handle…..WOWie Kazowie. You are a dear to share your passion and talent with Carrie Marie and her new family, it’s a real treasure. xo K Love and Hugs too


    • You always make me feel loved and appreciated, Boomdee.

      I think you would also love Carrie Marie. She rescues dogs, she rescued baby squirrels, she loves animals and books and she’s adopting a child. A good soul. She’s been so appreciative of this little library and shared it on the library steward’s page.

      Yes, all will be revealed in my follow on post. Thanks for your love and friendship. xox

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have just pinned your post to my Pinterest board where I am collecting ideas which I may be able to use as activities for my elderly, house-bound mother. I would love to be able to work out a way to establish a small free library for her. There are many young children in her street, and they always wave to my mother when they walk past. It would be fun to have books for the children. My sister who cares for my mother may be able to supervise the library. We will see. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m thrilled to read that this prompted an idea of a library in your own community. If you explore their site, it is full of wonderful ideas. These libraries exist around the world, including places where books are hard to come by for many like rural India. The children will love it! And your mother will reap the rewards again and again. Should you go forward, please let me know. I’ll send a few books for the debut.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. This precious little library makes me want a fairy garden. Such a clever idea!! I’m swooning. Especially over the fact that each little book has a story. Your product could really be a marketable hit in the right niches!


    • Oh my goodness, Leilani! Thank you for suggesting that I could actually market this little library. It was a labor of love.

      I think you would love fairy gardening. I find it relaxing. It’s also a small scale project so you don’t have to commit to much. You’re amazingly creative so I can only imagine what you would do. I say go for it.


  5. Oh, Alys! This post just made my day! I followed all of the links to read the whole story of your Little Free Library. It’s such a wonderful way to share the gift of reading with your community! (The teacher in me just wants to hug you, dear Alys!!) ❤ It must be so heartwarming to catch a glimpse of readers stopping to visit your LFL.

    I had heard of the Little Free Library movement, but had never seen one. In December, I was so happy to discover a LFL, next to a beautiful church, in historic Cedarburg, Wisconsin. I had to stop and admire it, and take a picture, of course! 🙂

    It’s so wonderful to see your miniature LFL, filled with teeny, tiny books!
    Alys, you are simply amazing!
    Happy Reading! ♡


  6. Dear Alys, your LFL looks so sweet! Of course, Nick is a carpenter extra ordinaire: his last names means carpenter. Greetings from a grey and dull Holland!


  7. Such a lovely idea and the miniature versions are the stuff of fairy tales! In England, lots of the decommissioned red telephone boxes have been repurposed the same way, as mini libraries. I’ll try to get a photo to show you.


  8. This just made my day! I must have missed something but will quickly research to find it. This tickled me all the way to my toes. Putting a LFL in the fairy garden is a marvelous idea and only you would think of it! I’m going to go play in the next couple of days as we are heading to 65 degrees!!!! It’s February for goodness sake. But will I complain? Oh no, You inspire us all.


    • Hurrah for warm weather and outdoor play time. We’ve got the same weather, warm, dry and sunny. All the Super Bowl fans are thrilled (it’s one city over from us this year) whereas I’m just happy for the time in the garden. I raked up a wheelbarrow full of pine needles this week, and had great company. I counted at least six different kinds of birds singing in the trees.

      It was my friend Mary Elizabeth’s suggestion that I build a mini library so the credit falls to her. I jumped on it though and had a grand time. Making this little blue one was even more fun.

      Thank you for always making my day. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  9. isn’t it amazing how many good things have come from that LFL in Campbell? Paying it Forward, and being blessed with the results. A heartwarming post indeed!


  10. Pingback: The Making of The Miniature Little Free Library – Gardening Nirvana

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