Family Activities: Building Your Own “Little Free Library”


Award-winning children’s author, Emilie Buchwald once said “children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”

This is demonstrated in the story of Todd Bol from Hudson, Wisconsin. He started a ‘take-a-book, leave-a-book’ system in his front yard as a tribute to his late mother, a teacher with a passion for books. Since it got its start in 2009, it has become the world’s largest book sharing movement.

Little Free Library

Todd learned a love of reading from his mother and with nearly 80,000 libraries in over 80 countries, Little Free Library is “inspiring a love of reading, building community, and sparking creativity” around the world.

You can join the mission of Little Free Library (LFL) by building one of your own. It’s a great family activity for fall, and gives you a chance to accomplish a fun task with your kids while reinforcing the importance of reading and literacy. Follow these easy steps recommended by the group’s organizers:

1. Siting a Location and Naming a Steward

Your first step will be to decide where to place it. Choose a safe and legal location with a lot of foot traffic. LFL shares some great advice in this video on how to site and install your Little Free Library. Choosing your steward or caretaker is also important to make sure your library stays clean and running smoothly for years to come.

2. Building or Buying your Library

There aren’t any rules when it comes to the design of your Free Little Library other than that it needs to hold books. You can get as creative as you want when you build your own.
Handmade ready-to-assemble kits or pre-built libraries are also available from the Little Free Library shop.

3. Register Your Library

To become an official Little Free Library, you need to register your site. Registering gets you an official charter sign engraved with a unique charter number. You also gain access to a network of support and benefits.
Libraries purchased through the LFL shop are automatically registered and include a charter sign.

4. Share your Library

To get the word out about your library and gain the support of your neighbors, LFL suggests sending out a press release and utilizing social media. You can also host a grand opening ceremony with a ribbon cutting to introduce your library to its new community. They even offer some promotional materials for stewards to help with marketing.

5. Add your Library to the World Map

The Library Search Tool quite literally puts your Little Free Library on the map so it can be enjoyed by all.



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