Monday, August 25, 2014

Little Free Libraries: My Latest Obsession

I've had an odd fascination with libraries since age 5 when my mother introduced me to the Nathan Hale Public Library in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Skipping out of the library with an armload of picture books seemed too good to be true.  (I have a slight obsession with book mobiles also but that will be saved for another day.)
 This photo could have been taken during one of my childhood visits to the 
Nathan Hale Public Library in Tulsa, OK.

So in 2012, when our newspaper ran an article on the new trend of Little Free Libraries, it was like discovering the delight of a library card all over again! Imagine people building their own little libraries and offering books to friends and neighbors. Ben Franklin would be so proud.

Like most brilliant ideas, the concept of Little Free Libraries began quite simply and grew into the phenomenon it is today. In 2009, Todd Bol built a birdhouse size replica of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother who was a schoolteacher. He placed it on a post outside his home, filled it with books, and posted a sign saying, "FREE BOOKS." Five years later there are an estimated 15,000 registered Little Free Libraries around the world.

In my adopted hometown of Fairhope, Alabama there are three registered Little Free Libraries.

This Little Free Library was discovered while walking with a friend along the bay. 
A notepad and pen is provided to leaving a personal note. 

On our way to the 4th of July concert, we came across this Little Free Library. 
Its stewards were sitting on the front porch somewhat amused (or confused) by my 
excitement over spotting it. 

Photo courtesy of
A five year old built this Little Free Library! You can read more about him HERE.

NEW YORK, Sloatsburg #1413
Interested in becoming the steward of your own Little Free Library? The official website has everything you need to know to get started in the HOW-TO INFORMATION. If you need inspiration, check out my Little Free Library board on PINTEREST. My favorites are those with a "children's section" like the one pictured above.

For this past Mother's Day I asked for a Topsy-Turvy Planter which yielded exactly three edible tomatoes. Next year, I'm asking for my own Little Free Library and expecting a much more robust harvest!

If you spot a Little Free Library in your community, please tell us about it here! 


  1. That's a great gift idea, and especially perfect for you! Just this morning, I came across a photo of a little free library that had a base of twisted vines to look like a tornado, so now, I'm hot on the idea of the libraries combined with decorative art!

    1. Oh, I'd love to see that. This could be an excellent project for you. It will help get your mind off your 1/2 empty nest.

  2. I never saw one until I moved to Fairhope. I thought it was the neatest thing!

    1. The whole concept is perfect for Fairhope...books and art and sharing.

  3. I was so excited about these when I heard about them too. I've considered having the hubby build me one as well. Unfortunately, my house is a bit off the beaten path and wouldn't have much foot traffic for a little library. Ah well, maybe one day.

  4. If you build it, I will come and borrow a book. (:

  5. This is so cute! I've never seen or heard of these until this post. I love it and think it would make an excellent gift! Great post, Karyn!

  6. We will have to take a tour of LFLs in Fairhope!

  7. The cool thing about the little library on Fairhope Ave. is that the family of librarians come to our library. So I think a tour of the LFLs in Fairhope is a great idea.

    1. When the weather gets cooler, we'll make this one of our Southern Bloggers Jubilee events.


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