Introducing Our Little Free Library

Little Free Library

Several years ago I spotted my first Little Free Library. It was love at first sight.

It was a cute, little bird-house looking structure in someone’s front yard. And it was full of…books! I remember thinking it was such a clever way to make books accessible to anyone at anytime.

I told myself someday I’d have one in our front yard. Well, that someday is here!

Why a Little Free Library

At MarbleSpark, we are passionate about fostering a love of reading. And since we are the people behind the company, the same holds true in our personal lives.

One of the best ways to do this is to provide access to books. It’s why we give away books through Project OpenBook. Because the more you read, the more you fall in love with reading.

Since the books in a Little Free Library (LFL) are just that, free, it provides another avenue to get easy access to books. Not to mention the sense of community that is built through a neighborhood book exchange.

I also have a selfish reason for wanting this in my front yard. Our kids are avid readers and it is hard to keep fresh books in the house!

The Little Free Library’s motto is: Take a Book. Share a Book. The idea is to take a book from the Little Free Library that appeals to you. After you’ve finished reading it, share it with someone else or put it back in the LFL. It is also encouraged to leave other books in the LFL for others to enjoy.

Getting Started

We were having dinner with a book-loving friend six months ago when the conversation turned to how her dad had built her sister a Little Free Library for her front yard. I could hardly contain my excitement. “I’ve always wanted to have one of those! Can he build me one?” I asked.

Little did I know there was an entire organization dedicated to Little Free Libraries. Our friend said you could look up her sister’s Library online to see a picture as well as information on how to start your own. The website even had a map showing us where the nearest LFL was located plus a map of where they were all over the world.

After reading more about the Little Free Library movement, I was all in. Now I had to convince everyone else!

Approval

The most difficult part was obtaining approval from our Homeowner’s Association (HOA). Since this was going to be a new structure in our front yard, I needed to get proper permission.

I approached our HOA Board with my idea and though they liked it, I had a bit of legwork to do. I was to ask our neighbors if they were on board with the idea as well as submit a photo of what the Library would look like.

After getting our neighbors’ approval (which was a unanimous ‘yes!’) and submitting a photo, it still took a few months to obtain approval. Once I did, we were on our way to the next phase.

Design and Installation

There isn’t just one way to build a Little Free Library. The possibilities are endless when it comes to design. The website has them available for purchase online or you can build your own.

After seeing my friend’s sister’s Library and loving it, I contacted my friend’s dad to see if he was willing to build me a similar one. I was in luck. He was game!

He did a fantastic job on the build. My vision was to have both children and adult books in our LFL and the shelf he made dividing the two was perfect. The roof was made with wood-shake shingles and we painted our LFL the same color as our house so it would look more streamlined in our front yard.

We decided to install it near the front of the yard near the sidewalk so it was easier and more inviting for people to stop. It was placed near a tree for a bit of shade and we added more mulch from around the tree to place around the LFL and connected the two.

I’m not “official” yet because I haven’t received my charter number from the organization, but I sent in my registration so will receive it soon.

I will receive an official charter sign engraved with my Library’s unique charter number. By registering, I’ll also have access to resources to help me be a better “Steward” of the Library.

Spreading the Word

In addition to social media and Nextdoor, a social network for our neighborhood community, I plan to place fliers in our neighbors’ doors to encourage them to come check it out.

We live near an elementary school and have lots of foot traffic from kids and parents on our street. My hope is kids will find our LFL and tell their friends about it.

This is a library for everyone. And it will only be successful if everyone supports it.

So come on over! There’s a book waiting just for you.

“Through Little Free Libraries, millions of books are exchanged each year, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.” – To learn more about Little Free Libraries, visit www.littlefreelibrary.org.

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