Library Week: Little Free Library

Today we are continuing our celebration of libraries with a visit to a Little Free Library.

library-week-bannerHave you heard about Little Free Libraries? The idea is to create a tiny library where neighbors can share books. Their motto is “take a book, return a book.”


Turns out that my friend Betsy has a Little Free Library right here in Mesa, Arizona. She was kind enough to answer some questions about it.

Betsy, please tell us about your library.

For the past 17 years, I’ve always had young children in the household. That means for the past 17 years, I haven’t gotten rid of many books! I like having a house full of books, so there is always an opportunity for discovering something new during a bored moment. Our family’s collection of books for kids is vast and varied – with something for all age groups. When I heard about the Little Free Library concept, it seemed like the perfect way to circulate some of these books throughout our community. I also have a lot of books for adults, but those are more specific to my interests. We keep some adult books in the library inventory, but the concept is especially popular with the kids in our neighborhood, so we mostly focus on that.

When did you start your library?

My husband got it for me for Christmas in 2012 and installed it in January 2013. My kids like rotating new books in – and checking to see what new-to-them books have been contributed from someone else.

From what can you tell, what genres/ages are most popular?

It’s very popular with children and the parents of very young children. Picture books and chapter books for early readers and younger tweens go fast!

Have you gotten any comments/feedback from children or parents?

I keep a small spiral notebook and a pen in the library so people can share feedback. When we first installed it, I was a little worried that some people wouldn’t like it, but it was unnecessary angst. Our Little Free Library looks tasteful, and all of the feedback to date has been very warm and positive.

Have you had any unusual problems? Any successes?

Nothing that stands out. We live in a fairly quiet neighborhood, which means we don’t have the worry about vandalism or theft that some have to deal with. That also means we don’t get as much circulation as we’d like! Sometimes we post fliers around the neighborhood to notify people about this resource.

Would you recommend it to others?

Absolutely! It’s a small way to contribute something meaningful to the community. The time investment as the curator is fairly small… keep it tidy, keep an eye on the contributions – since so many of our visitors are kids, we keep it family-friendly. No pamphlets nor sales materials are permitted – books and periodicals only! – but that’s mostly not been a problem. I try to keep a balance of genres across the age ranges.

 What a wonderful project! Betsy, thank you for sharing your experiences.

Want to find a Little Free Library near you? Check the interactive world map or alphabetical list of libraries. Little Free Libraries are found throughout the world, from Alabama to Whitehorse in Yukon Territory.

Do you have a little library nearby? What have your experiences been?