Thursday, 6 February 2014

Our Little Free Library

About 4 weeks ago, Twitter chum and all round rather-amazing-force-for-good-with-children's-books-things person, Carmen Haselup drew my attention to something called the Little Free Library organisation.

Set up in America but now spreading all over the world, these are mini self-contained book sheds put outside people's houses or in community spaces to provide an opportunity for sharing and swapping books with friends, neighbours and passers by.

Carmen herself knows a bit about community libraries, being the founder of the AMAZING Rainbow library- a labour of love that has put a whole lot of picture books into the hands of a whole lot of local previously unbooky nursery kids over the last year. She blogs about the powerful effect it has had here. Go look.

I went off to look at and thought two things.

1. That's cool.


2. I want one.

Being a Veruca Salt kinda girl I didn't stop there. I forwarded the link to my handy with tools father-in-law, a retired man with two and a half sheds of his own and a fondness for a Project.

Two weeks later he had built this-
almost entirely out of salvaged bits and pieces too. Just £10 for a bit of interior insulation and the cost of a fence post to put it on.

Our little library opened on Sunday. It's got a mixture of picture books, older kids fiction and grown up fiction and non-fiction- as broad a general mix as we could get from a random clear out of our shelves. And four days later, about 8 books or so have been 'borrowed' from all different categories and 3 new ones have appeared too. We've had lots of lovely comments from people passing and the local paper have even been to take a photo.

I love it. I keep going out to stroke it and rearrange the spines. Turns out I have a rampant inner librarian that was itching to be released...
 What I love most about it is that it's easy- manageable- something almost anyone can do (depending on your location and outside space obviously). People have been sending me photos of amazing little library spaces customised out of old phone boxes or popping up in pubs- and many are gorgeous but rather bigger enterprises than ours. Yes- it may get vandalised , yes- someone may take all the books but I'll take it calmly if that happens- it's just wood and old  paperbacks after all.

And what seems much more likely is what is already starting to happen- that we'll make some new friends, spread a little booky love and I'll always be able to find something new to read in the bath.
fellow librarians at work


  1. It's so lovely, well done and yay for books being added to it already :-)

  2. Oh wow, I love this, wishing I had a front garden to do this!

  3. So great to hear that your first week has been busy and that people have given as well as borrowed :o)

  4. That's so wonderful! I think I'll ask for one for my birthday on the 25th of this month! I am on the path to a primary school and have a front garden!