Several years ago I spotted a book box in a nearby neighborhood and I fell in love with the idea. I came home and told Mike. It took several months to bring the idea to fruition, but by January the following year, we had a Little Free Library of our own. It sits at the curb near the garden and attracts visitors throughout the day.
Being a part of the Little Free Library movement has been a joyous experience. I’m friends with the owner of the library that inspired me, and I’ve met other LFL stewards along the way.
My friend Nick built the first library from scratch using reclaimed and recycled material. He did an amazing job. He even thought to add light by connecting it to a landscape light below.
After several years in the sun, the library needed a facelift. My friend and artist Donna Pierre worked her craft. Donna has amazing ideas and the skills to see those ideas to fruition.
When I sit in my home office or work in the kitchen, I see visitors throughout the day. The Little Free Library attracts people of all ages.
Last year when the pandemic hit, the library’s use skyrocketed. Children were out of school looking for something to do. Teachers stopped by, with one explaining that she had been forced to leave her classroom on short notice without any teaching materials. Some stewards closed their library for fear of spreading COVID. I left mine in place, assuming that books could be wiped down if necessary. In those days people were wiping down groceries.
I had several children’s books stored in my garage, so I took a large plastic bin, turned it on its side, and filled it with my stash. I placed the box along the low wall leading up to our deck. It’s the perfect height for small readers.
As the weather started cooling down, I knew the plastic bin would need modifying or replacing. Right on cue, the bin cracked, brittle from the overhead sun. It had to go.
The only thing better than one Little Free Library is a second one. I ordered the largest pre-made box available through LittleFreeLibrary.org and asked my friend Donna if she could work her magic once again.
This allowed us to support the LFL non-profit while providing work to a local artist. I stocked the original library with children’s books on one side and adult fare on the other. The second Little Free Library is exclusively children’s books.
I read voraciously growing up. Libraries in my youth were a refuge and a treat. I thought I would grow up to be a librarian. It’s been a circuitous route, but in my way I’m living that librarian dream. What a thrill!
Art by Donna Pierre, 2020