Little Free Library

September 12, 2013 by Nicole Grabowski

What’s the first (relaxing) thing you can think of doing on a lazy afternoon?


Reading a good book, of course! A recent visit to a beach in the Pacific Northwest revealed the coolest idea I’ve seen in a while: a little free library; a tiny wooden schoolhouse mailbox-of-sorts filled with books for the taking.


It’s stunning these days to see something for free; a successful enterprise based upon the honor system. It’s so rare; perhaps that’s part of the charm. But the idea makes perfect sense: leave a book you’re ready to part with, and take a book to read. You can even keep the new book if you love it just that much–no late fees or e-book charges! It’s a simple idea, but one that has touched hands and hearts worldwide.


I’ve seen one more of these feel-good boxes, in the trendy area of a waterfront town in Washington State. This prompted me to investigate the inspiration behind such an idea. Turns out they have a whole website dedicated to the project, which began in 2009 when Tod Bol mounted the first little free library on his Wisconsin lawn in memory of his mother, an avid reader and school teacher. Since then people have created thousands of these beautiful miniature libraries to promote literacy and goodwill.


The website provides the latest news, including philanthropic opportunities and a step-by-step on how to start your own little free library. I plan on starting my own with my children’s books. Hopefully it won’t be long before you see one pop up in your neighborhood, or create one yourself.




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