DIY Little Free Library Ideas

By Maureen Wise in Helping Hands

Do you have a Little Free Library in your community? Are you ready to be the creator and catalyst of this community project? We've got some fun Little Free Library ideas to help you get started!

Little Free What?

Little Free Libraries aren't actually libraries in the traditional sense. They have no late fees or librarians. They are usually about the size and structure of a kitchen cabinet, often waist-height and kept out of mud on a stand. The first Library was set up in Wisconsin in 2009 to honor the memory of a mother who loved reading. The idea spread like wildfire, and Libraries now exist in all 50 states and in over 80 countries. They bring books to places that don't have public libraries. Reading improves kids' learning, writing, and reading abilities. Reading keeps older adults' minds active and is just plain fun for everyone!

A Little Free Library in a neighborhood.

We have several of these little book-swapping stations in my community. The most popular one sits at the city-playground entrance. Rarely will a kid enter the playground without glancing at the book selection, which includes children's books, DIY manuals, novels, map books, and more.

Become a Steward

If you want to become a Library steward, you will have lots of help. The nonprofit of the same name provides plenty of blueprints, plans, and tips for weatherproofing your structure. On its website, you can buy Library building kits or accessories like a dog-leash hook, book-party yard signs, or a cozy bench. The website has a steward-only section and a closed Facebook page dedicated to networking and sharing ideas among stewards. The steward program also grants access to free or discounted books.

Your Library

So what would your own Little Library look like? Where should it be located? Look at the world map of registered libraries to find any book deserts in your area. Check with your local city government and homeowners' association to see if they have any rules about location or design. (The Little Free Library organization does not have any rules about size or aesthetics.) Should the Library match or contrast with the architecture in your neighborhood, or with local sports-team colors? Should it evoke your community's setting or local industry? Consider purchasing a kit if you're not up for designing your own. You must register your Library with the organization to use the name. You will receive a charter sign and charter number along with steward support for the $40 registration fee.

Young readers love Little Free Libraries.

Then consider how you will launch your Library. Will you hold a book drive? Start a reading club or distribute bookmarks? Have a ribbon-cutting ceremony? Be sure to send a press release to your community news sources as well!

Do you have one of these Libraries in your community? Do you have any Little Free Library ideas to share? Are you ready to become a steward? Let us know on Twitter with our hashtag #GoodMatters!

Image Source: Flickr | Flickr | Maureen Wise

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Why It’s Good

Sharing books with your community brings neighbors together and places emphasis on the value of reading and learning.