Tag Archives: Little Free Library

My Little Free Library—Pros and Cons

Three years ago, I asked a local high school shop teacher if his class would build a Little Free Library for me. They did—and this week my LFL turns three!

The pros of owning one of these little book boxes far outweigh the cons.

At the top of my pro list are the people—my “regulars.” Among them are the young woman who power walks to the library three times a week; the middle-aged man who drives a green car, wears a suit, and stops on Fridays, late in the afternoon; the old woman who walks with a cane whose husband drives her to the library on Sundays so she can return a book and take a new one. And “the dog people.” Dog people love the little jar of dog treats in my library. My favorite dog person is the elderly woman who walks an equally elderly and arthritic border collie. Daily, the pair ambles down the block to the library so the dog can enjoy a treat. The woman never takes a book, but the treats make her and the old dog happy. Sometimes, a dog person will leave a thank-you note and fill up the jar with treats— and that makes me happy.

1478931_274761989344628_414585271_nOther pros include the wide variety of books that end up in the library when visitors take a book and leave a book, the expressions of surprise and joy when people notice the library for the first time, and the fact that my Little Free Library has spawned three other LFLs in the neighborhood!

I’ve never had any vandalism to my Little Free Library; however, there are a few negatives to owning a box of books. I sometimes find advertisements, political campaign literature, and other flyers tucked among the books. I remove them. I have a policy of books only. A few times, the dog treats have disappeared—jar and all. And as much as I love children’s books, I’ve stopped buying them for the library because too often they aren’t returned or replaced with other children’s books.

If you’re thinking of getting your own Little Free Library, don’t let the cons discourage you. You will never be sorry to become a Little Free Library steward. Read more about it HERE.

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Ten Unique Little Free Libraries

LFLIf you’ve read my blog for a while, then you know that I’m a big fan of Little Free Libraries. I’ve had one in my front yard for several years.

The first Little Free Library was created in Wisconsin in 2009. Since then, Little Free Libraries have popped up all over the world, and stewards (that’s what LFL owners are called) have gotten creative with their designs.

Here are ten of my favorites.

I love this bright painterly Little Free Library.
Wouldn’t it look nice in a garden?

Adding a reading bench is a great idea!
This LFL matches the house.

Here’s one with a movie theater theme.
I wonder what’s inside.

This brick Little Free Library is a beauty!
The work of a skilled craftsman (or woman).

A repurposed grandfather’s clock.
This might be my most favorite.

What to do with what’s left of a tree trunk?
Turn it into a Little Free Library!

Somewhere in London,
someone made an old phone booth into a LFL.

Down on the farm
there’s a rooster-themed Little Free Library.

This one is certainly unique.
Heads up!

And, the most creative one of all—
I’m not sure what to think . . .

Which one is your favorite?

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There’s even a Little Free Library song!
Here’s  Jack Pearson’s “Little Free Library”.

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5 MORE Things I’ve Learned From My Little Free Library

WINTERlibraryBefore we plunge deep into 2015, I want to share with you another five things that I’ve learned from my Little Free Library. (If you missed the first five, you can read about them HERE.)

1. Weatherproof, weatherproof, weatherproof. My library is made of recycled cedar, built nice and tight. The roof angles back to allow water to run off, and it overhangs the library’s walls to further protect them. Before I put up the library, I sprayed it with multiple coats of polyurethane varnish.

Everything stayed nice and dry until a storm brought rain sideways, directly at one of the library’s walls. The polyurethane spray wasn’t enough. Water soaked through the cedar, and the paperbacks touching the wall got wet. Solution: I stained the library, inside and out, with two coats of a good exterior stain/sealer. It worked. In another driving rain, the library stayed nice and dry.

inside2. Kids can be messy. Summertime means more kids visiting the library. I love kids, and I’m happy to see them eager to read. But kids are kids, and kids don’t always put things back where they found them. Often, I find books piled inside the library in front of the shelves. A messy library discourages adults, so I do a lot of straightening when kids are around. I think part of the problem is that the library is too tall for little arms to reach comfortably. I’m thinking about adding another library, smaller, shorter, and just for kids. We’ll see.

3. Readers like to share. Sometimes, my library is bulging with books. When readers decide to purge their bookshelves, my Little Free Library seems the perfect place to recycle. Too many books can be a problem. I’ve learned that an overstocked library deters readers from browsing. So . . . I store the overload and use those books to refresh the library every 4-6 weeks.

4. Cover it up. There is one day out of 365 when I close and cover up my Little Free Library—Halloween trick-or-treat day. I throw an industrial-sized, black trash bag over the library and secure it to the post with zip ties. This prevents trick-or-treaters from thinking that the books are the treats, and it also deters vandalism. I’d rather be safe than sorry.

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5. Treats are popular. If you read my post, “My Little Free Library has Gone to the Dogs,” you already know that doggie treats bring readers to the library. My patrons are really good about taking just one or sometimes two treats. I’ve had no problems with anyone emptying out the dog treats jar. But, when I put mini candy bars in the library for a treat at Christmas time, they disappeared within a day or two. I suspect that kids found them and filled their pockets. So, I doubt that I’ll do that again.

Oh—and one more VERY COOL thing: Little Free Library mentioned my library in this recent post on their blog, and they linked it back here! THANK YOU, littlefreelibrary.org. You rock!

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Check out this kid-friendly video about how a Little Free Library works.

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