The Mermaid's Tale

get hooked on the lost art of reading

Start a Little Free Library


start a Little Free Library
One great way to promote literacy in your area is open a small Free Library of your own in your front garden or other publicly-accessible place. Set up a protected container with books and watch people come to borrow. You might set out copies of some of your favourites, or focus your library on a particular theme.

What's a Little Free Library?

It's based on the old idea of "need a penny, take a penny".

So -- need a book? Take a book. Have spare books? Make a book donation.

The library itself is free for use by anyone wandering past. A steward maintains each Library, and the library itself is generally placed in the steward's yard or (with permission) in a public place such as a nearby park.

How to set up a Little Free Library

Buy, build, or recycle?

You should decide up front if you want to build your own Library, upcycle something you already own, or have one constructed for you. It is probably most cost efficient to build your own from available plans, but you can hire an artist or woodworker build one for you. Try looking around for someone who sells a "yard library" or "sidewalk library" (generally looks a lot like a bird house). You also might check around for something you can work with to transform into a Library. For example, my Library (in progress) is a recycled newspaper dispenser.

Library placement

It's best if the Library is accessible from the sidewalk rather than on your porch so more people will see it. Passers-by tend to be hesitant to invade private yards.

Get an official charter

Once you have the library unit, register your library with Little Free Library to receive an official charter number for your Library. A plaque with your unique charter number will be shipped to you. After you receive your charter plaque, attach it to your Library, log the number with the official site to get your Library on the map, and open for business.

Stocking your Little Free Library

You might need to seed it with books when it first opens, but if it's popular, you will have book donations. I suggest having a clearly marked lidded container for donations. Feel free to curate donations to "keep your theme" if necessary. You can always donate extras to other Libraries in the area.

Bonus features of a Little Free Library

It's a place for the community to use. Make it a fun, well-maintained place if your budget permits. Nice features depending on your budget might include solar lights, pavers around the library base, and a bench. Add reflectors to it to increase visibility from the road. Plant a small garden as part of the installation.

The important thing is to make it uniquely yours.

Start a Little Free Library today!