Little Free Library

Recently a friend of mine from Memphis posted a link to a tiny little house sitting on a wooden post, filled with books for borrowing. I was instantly charmed. I did a quick search and found this map, showing these tiny libraries all over the country, and all over the world! I was excited to find that some of them were near me, and I decided to go visit them. Prepare for an overload of adorableness. The first one I visited was all decked out for Christmas. I gasped with glee when I saw it!

Where do these little libraries come from? They’re part of a larger non-profit, but people volunteer to make them and maintain them. A lot of them have wonderfully unique touches (hand welded posts! An R2D2 handle! Interior lighting!), and I spent a long time looking at all the smiling faces and tiny libraries on their flickr page. It seems like a particularly great project for kids–they get so excited about the building of the box and about the book exchange too (most of the libraries have children’s books).

The first box I visited had sides made from wooden blocks, which must have been donated by their former owners. I love the look of it, and the personal touch.

The way the libraries work is simple: you’re free to borrow a book, or donate one. The books are stamped as part of the library, and some of them have notes inside the cover, listing those who have read the book. This all just seems like such a beautiful way to build community and share the joy of reading that my heart was singing all afternoon.

The second library I visited featured some of the stewards’ favorite books as decorations. So cute!

And, good choices, I must add!

I didn’t borrow any books this time, since I have a huge stack on my dresser for the holidays already, but I love love love this idea. I am definitely stockpiling it for when we have kids–how fun would it be to build one of these, personalize it, and let the kids join in the sense of ownership that comes with maintaining it? Sometimes you are so overwhelmed by the goodness of people and their capacity for creativity that you can only sit back and smile. And wonder at it all. Thank you, tiny libraries, for taking me there!

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