That’s my number! Patriotic and easy to remember. But what’s a Little Free Library? Briefly it is about building little libraries in communities throughout the US and the world. It was started two years ago when Todd Bol from Hudson, Wisconsin wanted to honor his late mother, a former teacher and book lover. He decided to do this by building a miniature model of a library, fill it with books for anyone to take, and placing it outside his home. People kept coming and taking books and dropping off books. It was such a success that he contacted a friend at the University of Wisconsin in Madison about expanding the idea and a movement was born. Their mission: To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide. Click on this link to get all the details: Little Free Libraries.
Now let me take you on the journey to my Little Free Library. First I had to get my husband’s participation because I am not a carpenter but that wasn’t too difficult because he was totally sold on the idea. The Little Free Library site provides building instructions and even sells kits but Curt found inspiration in this little old window that he had bought at a garage sale years ago. The glass needed to be re-puttied and the window had to be painted but it would make a great door.
With that beginning it was just a matter of working out the other dimensions and locating scrap wood that would work or purchasing wood where scraps weren’t available. Along with the door, the roof and the framing around the door was made up of pieces Curt already owned. The wood for the box itself was purchased. Since the door was fairly tall, our Little Library was going to have two shelves and the depth was dictated by the biggest book I was going to put in the library.
Curt built the box, fixed the window and primed the finished construction.
I added the final coats of paint and did the design work. My theme was “Books Give Us Wings.” Back in 1991, one of my jobs at the library where I was employed was marketing and display. That year the theme for National Library Week was “Give Us Books, Give Us Wings.” I loved that theme and I planned book displays and even did huge posters for the entryway. Posters, I might add, the library still uses even though I’ve been retired for two years. But that phrase said so much. Books inspire imagination, educate, enlighten, fuel dreams. They send us on flights of fancy. They give us wings.
Last but not least, the Little Library needed a base. Most bases are sturdy fence poles sunk in the ground and the box is attached to a platform on top. We live near the Niagara Escarpment. Do you know what’s under the top 12 inches of dirt in my yard? Rocks. There was no way we were going to sink a pole deep enough to support this box full of books. Also our box has to be removable since in the winter a snowplow would surely take it for a ride. So my wonderful problem solving husband made our base out of cinder blocks. There are also rocks and a wooden base and screws involved but ultimately it works.
So that’s it. I sent in my registration papers and a week ago it was placed at the end of our driveway. I am a little skeptical that people will find it since I live on a minor road in a rural area. I reused one of those political signs from last week and painted a big arrow with the suggestion to “Check it out.” And wow! Two books went out a couple of days ago and today I actually saw a man stop, get out of his car and walk over to take a look. So next time you are in my neighborhood, stop. Take a book or leave a book or do both. Happy reading and get started on your own LFL.