I have recently become aware of a trend in 'Little Free Libraries', community groups or homeowners put out a weatherproof box and fill it with books that folks can take, read, return, and hopefully supply more book to!
Karen Owen, prolific craft blogger and cozy mystery blogger and reviewer, recently posted about her own adventures with her little cozy lending library. Curious, I decided to ask her some questions. The answers are fascinating and informative!
So here goes:
Q - You have a little free library; can you tell me about it?
A - I have wanted to have a free library for a while now. I have been blessed with the ability to read and review so many wonderful cozies in the last few years and most of them I still purchase in advance. This leaves me often with doubles of some truly wonderful books. I have a great local library and when my library cannot take them for circulation. I was just saving them for friends to read. I don’t sell any of the books I review and was looking for a way to share the cozies I was reading with as many people as I can.
Q - Where did you get the idea?
A - About 20 years ago my husband and I went to Palm Springs California and it was there I discovered free libraries. I thought this was the most wonderful idea and I left behind my holiday magazines at the free library there. I was tickled to leave Canadian magazines for others to find. I hoped it would bring someone as much joy as it brought me when I found different reading material on my trip. Then I began to see free libraries pop up almost everywhere we traveled. Some of my most favorite ones were in Hawaii. I wanted to have one in my neighborhood too so I have been looking for some time for the right box.
Q - Is it a box, or… something else? How did you build it?
A - Though I am crafty and I had intended to build one I have not found the courage to begin. I live on the very “Wet West Coast” of Canada and I need something that is water tight. I have plans still to build one but the one I have at my door now is actually a large wooden breadbox that I bought at a yard sale in early July for $7. There are some wonderful plans on line though I would love to have a much larger one.
Q - How long have you had it, and how has it gone? Do you get drop offs?
A - I have had the little free library at my door for a few weeks now. I brought it home and immediately painted it and ordered a vinyl transfer for the front of the box from a friend in the USA, she helped me design the logo and then made it. It arrived a week ago and I love it. I have had offers for book drop offs but as it is very tiny I have asked at this time to hold off leaving one behind until there is more room.
Q - Do you have neighbors? What do they think?
A - I have a great neighborhood that has a Facebook group, so I have only advertised on that page. I have had many lovely comments and a few visitors stop by. We have a very flat neighborhood that has houses very close together, lots of people who walk their dogs and kids always out and about. Once I build a larger waterproof library I will put it closer to the street but for now it sits under the mail box at my door.
Q - Do you contribute to other little free libraries in your city? How does that work?
A - I do actually a week after I put out my free library a community one opened at a public park about a 15 min drive from my house. I was so excited as the area that the new free library is in an area that some would call economically challenged but it is an up and coming area and the park is brand new. I took a large reusable grocery bag filled to the brim of both cozy and kids books and refilled that library. I plan on returning to add more in a few weeks after we go through my kids books and I finish reading a few more cozies.
Q - What would be your advice for someone thinking of starting up a free little library?
A - I would encourage anyone thinking of starting a free little library to think outside the box! While there are many wonderful plans for wooden tiny libraries I have also seen on line some truly inventive and practical ideas. I have seen tables set up, Rubbermaid containers used, an old red wagon, as well as a night stand and a regular bookshelf. It was from these ideas I found on line I begin to look for something to use for my own and I knew in the moment I laid eyes on the oversized bread box it would be perfect!
Thank you for your answers, Karen. It's been fascinating! Visit Karen at her blog:
For more information on starting your own Little Free Library, see this wonderful organization!
Little Free Library dot org
Another international take on Free Libraries: BookCrossing