I spotted my first Little Free Library at the Omni Starbucks in Richmond, Virginia almost two years ago. I noticed it—I even instagrammed it—but I didn’t really know what I was looking at.
a Little Free Library carved into a tree in Hampton, NH (photo)
The first Little Free Library—though it wasn’t called that yet—was built in Hudson, Wisconsin in 2009. Todd Bol built a miniature one-room schoolhouse to honor his mother, a teacher who loved reading. He filled it with books, and put it on a pole in his front yard with a sign that said FREE BOOKS. It was a hit.
a Little Free Library in Crescent Hill, Louisville, Kentucky
He built several more and gave them away. The grassroots movement caught on. Bol’s original goal was for 5,210 Little Free Libraries: that’s one more than Andrew Carnegie built, which would make the Little Free Library movement the world’s largest library network.
Now—just a few years later—there are about 15,000 officially registered Little Free Libraries.
this Little Free Library is a gift of interactive art for its Corvallis, Oregon neighborhood (photo)
I’m in love with the idea and am seriously considered putting one in my yard. (Books + whimsy, how can I resist?)
The Little Free Libraries come in all shapes and sizes. Kits can be purchased on the Little Free Library website, or owners can create whatever kind of structure they’d like, limited only by their imagination and, in some instances, zoning laws.
a little red phone booth in Vancouver (photo)
Some Little Free Libraries are shaped like birdhouses; some are shaped like phone booths. Some are carved into trees; some are carved into garages. Some look like school buses; some look like RVs. There’s even a Little Free Bike Library.
Little Free Bike Library of Chino Hills, California (photo by Andrew Scott, steward)
Personally, I love the miniature house-shaped ones that the creators personalize in every way imaginable.
I made Will stop the car on a busy Pensacola street so I could jog back a block to snap this photo. Can you blame me?
Do you have a Little Free Library near you? Would you ever want to have one yourself? And if you know of any more in Louisville, let me know so I can hunt them down!
P.S. You can watch a twelve-minute documentary about the Little Free Library movement here.