I was in the good phase of my pregnancy, that point early in the second trimester where energy returns and nausea fades. I was happily enjoying a summer evening stroll with my friend and her two dogs when I stumbled upon it: a Little Free Library. At the time, I did not know that this simple structure in front of a person’s house was part of a larger community of other such “libraries. ” I thought it was just a random (and great!) idea that a local resident had come up with to build a little cabinet on top of a wooden post and fill it with books that were free for the taking or borrowing, with the option to also contribute to the collection.
As if it were meant for me on that day, Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy was one of the books sitting on the library’s shelf. I took it with me, pleased with my free, unexpected gift.
After that point, I began to notice more of these little libraries scattered about town.
When I had books to unload, I began intentionally seeking out these LFLs and adding to the collection. If I needed a new read, I’d peruse the selection freely available books on the shelves of these neighborhood library boxes.
After my daughter was born and right into toddlerhood, I introduced her to the wonders of these libraries. Her first book acquired was Adventure Cat Goes to School. It’s still a bit advanced for her, but she loved the picture on the cover and still has it 2 years later.
Earlier this year, my husband and I purchased our first home. That’s another story entirely, but during the competitive, hopeful, and discouraging hunt, the first time I saw our current home I somehow knew it was meant for us. Standing in a well- landscaped rock garden stood a Little Free Library that the seller had built, stocked, maintained, and registered on the Little Free Library website (www.littlefreelibrary.org).
When the home became ours, I took over as the steward of the library.
It has been a great joy maintaining it, restocking it, and receiving donated books from local community members. Having relocated from a home in the very pedestrian friendly North Park area to a residential street in Lemon Grove, it was nice to immediately have something that connected us to our new community.
Beyond that, I’m able to network with other Little Free Library stewards via social media. There is a Facebook page dedicated to the stewards and also one for the public, aptly titled Little Free Library. It’s nice to have a sense of community with others who share a mutual passion for serving neighborhoods in a positive way. There is so much creativity put into maintaining the little libraries, be it with the decor and design of the structure, the content of reading material inside, or the incentives and gifts stewards leave for their patrons.
Curious to locate a Little Free Library in your area?
Check out www.littlefreelibrary.org/ourmap, where you can search by zip code, city, GPS, or even a specific steward’s name or library name.
Even better, if you’re interested in starting your own Little Free Library, the Insider’s Guide to Starting a Little Free Library can be found right on https://littlefreelibrary.org/start/. You can build your own library or shop models for purchase as well!
Hope to see you in the community!