Dedicating the Little Free Library

Warm temperatures and a cool breeze were a welcome gift Saturday during  the Little Free Library dedication.

The idea for little libraries started in Wisconsin in 2009

Todd Bol built a model of a one-room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading.  He filled it with books and put it in his front yard.  His neighbors and friends loved it, so he built several more and gave them away. Each one had a sign that said FREE BOOKS.

Little Free is now a non-profit as well as a movement, spreading the love of reading around the world.

I dedicated The El Codo Way Little Free Library, to two of our local teachers, Debbie Hughes Judge and Carolyn Sullivan. Carolyn and Debbie (now retired) are highly regarded 2nd grade teachers at Bagby Elementary School. They were instrumental in supporting the Books at Home program at Bagby that encouraged disadvantaged youth to read at home over the summer. They’ve both been a tremendous personal support to me as well.

Here are a few highlights of the day:

We served cookies and water on the lawn and deck. Attendees took home a bookmark made from a unique collection of Pixar Animation postcards.  No two were alike.


Postcard bookmarks

Postcard bookmarks

Additional thanks to Candace Levers for donating Vision Literacy bookmarks to the LFL.   You can read more about their mission at

There has been such an outpouring of support for our library. It’s easy to see why they’ve caught on around the globe.



Little Free Library: Books for Everyone

Little Free Library

The base of the library is ready for plants

The Little Free Library is a hit.  The outpouring of support makes my heart sing.  I received a number of emails from neighbors and friends promising books and offering support.  Several of my friends shared my blog post on Facebook.  I’m planning a dedication ceremony as well so stay tuned for details.

I received the following email from a dear friend:

I just adore you new free book library and wanted to add four of my favorite mystery authors. I have these paperback books coming straight to you from Amazon. Please add in honor of our friendship and my aunt Vicki who as you know was a reading specialist. Believe it or not, it was 5 years ago in December we lost her. I miss her as much today as then but she is always in my heart/thoughts and she would be so proud of her great-nephew. Jackson won the school award for reading the most books last year. Kristi

Wow!  In addition to being a great friend, Kristi got me hooked on two fun authors, Sue Grafton (great mysteries) and Janet Evanovich (the laugh out loud adventures of a bounty hunter in New Jersey).

New this week:

One for the Money

A is For Alibi

No Nest for the Wicket

Keepsake Crimes

Once the library was official, I found myself scrutinizing everyone who walked by.  Would they stop?  Would they look? Would they take a book?  It didn’t take long for a few of the children’s books to move.  One afternoon a woman pulled into my driveway  (picture me trying hard not to stare) and her son got out and collected a book.  Mortified, my teenage son begged me not to stare or worse, take a picture.  Who me????  Of course I would never take a photo of someone without permission, but it was exciting to watch it unfold (the book borrowing,  not my son’s angst).  I remember my teenage years.  So many things embarrassed me so I make an extra effort to stay aware of his emotional discomfort.

Ways to get involved

One of the questions last week was: Is there an effort to see these in some of the poorer areas?

Yes!  There are a number of initiatives in the works to spread the love of reading worldwide, especially in low-income and impoverished areas. Here are a few:

Africa: Send a beautifully designed Little Free Library and more than $1,000 worth of books to Africa! Your contribution supports construction, decoration, registration, signage and enough books to help an entire village in need.

Small Towns: A small town or neighborhood near you may not have a public library of its own. One Little Free Library can bring the joy of reading to children, older adults or a whole community. Your donation will help build, deliver, install and stock one or more Little Libraries with quality books.

India: Our nonprofit partner in India is already at work using beautiful books and Little Free Libraries to inspire poor kids to stay in school and learn to earn a living. Children who thought it wasn’t even possible to dream of attending school will have the chance to learn language, geography, science, math, health and business skills. Each $500 sponsors a Library and hundreds of books that can last for at least three years. For both donors and receivers, this program can transform lives.

Minneapolis Public Schools: As many as 100 Little Free Libraries will be installed by and for neighborhood kids in a new program created with Minneapolis Public Schools. More than 20 have already been committed. The goal is to interest children who have not yet learned the pleasure and value of books. Thousands of books have been offered by Coffee House Press, Reach a Child and others. Each Library starts with more than $500 of books.

You can read details about the above initiatives and more at Little Free Library.Org

back of the library

Back of the library, reclaimed fencing