Little Libraries bring books to neighborhoods
Growing up, my mother took me on an adventure every Saturday morning. I’d pack my book bag with assorted snacks for sustenance and juice boxes for hydration and we’d be off. Sometimes we’d go rafting down the Mississippi or journey down the Oregon Trail. Once we even found ourselves in a feverish pursuit of an Everlasting Gobstopper. But no matter where we ended up, we always started at the same place: the library.
When I read about the Little Free Library movement, I knew I had to be a part of it. Started by Todd Bol in Hudson, Wisconsin, the first Little Free Library was built as a tribute to the founder’s mother and posted on his front lawn. As of March, 34 states and 17 countries have little free libraries adding up to over two thousand worldwide. The movement has caught on in Atlanta, with Little Libraries in Lake Claire, Druid Hills and ours in Virginia Highland. Little Free Libraries were also a big to do at the recent Decatur Book Festival, where several were auctioned off and will hopefully make their way into front yards very soon.
Our little free library began as a medicine cabinet we found hanging on a wall at Kudzu Antiques in Decatur. As soon as my husband Ted saw it, he had a vision. He began by building a roof, complete with shingles. Next he took the trim from an old radio in our garage and nailed it above the cabinet door. Two coats of paint later, we had our library.
Ted’s a designer by day and a historian by night so he wanted to get the signage just right. He carefully painted “The Little Public Library on Hudson” with precision usually reserved for airplane models. He buried the post in our front yard and within an hour, we had our first patrons. We’ve lived on Hudson for over a year and the day our library opened, we finally met the family a few doors down. They checked out the very first book: The Twits by Roald Dahl.
Our hope is that neighbors will visit the library not just once, but over and over. We hope they scribble notes in the margins and leave their names inside. We hope they become a part of the books so that whoever reads them next, knows that the passage that means so much to them, also meant so much to the reader before them. We hope that these little libraries lead to big libraries being revisited again. We want readers to go on adventures with these books, just like I did when I was a child.
Learn how to build and open a Little Free Library of your very own at littlefreelibrary.org.