Top 10 Reasons to Create Little Free Libraries in Your Community by Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan
We often support schools and communities with promoting summer reading. We want students to continue their “readerly lives” over the summer. A few years ago, we were researching ideas to get books to students in different communities and we came across Little Free Libraries. We immediately feel in love! We were so enamored by this idea we decided we had to give it a try ourselves. We put a Little Free Library in Tammy’s yard.
After several years of having a Little Free Library in Tammy’s yard, here are our top 10 Reasons why we plan to create more Little Free Libraries.
- Share Your Books – If you are like us, you have books sitting on your shelves collecting dust. Instead of dusting, share your books with your community.
- Meet Your Neighbors – I can’t tell you how many neighbors I have met thanks to the Little Free Library. Parents wheeling baby strollers, grandparents talking walks with their grandchildren, people stopping their cars to ask, “What is that in your yard?” Our little free library is filled with children’s books so I now know more kids and caregivers who live near me.
- Build a Literacy Friendly Neighborhood – You know your Little Free Library is working when you come home from work and a few children are sitting and reading in a rocking chair near the Little Free Library.
- Learn About New Books – Every time I open The Little Free Library there are books that someone else has left. Finding a new book in the library lets me know that the love of reading is spreading around the neighborhood.
- Smile More – There is nothing like pulling into driveway after a day at work and seeing a child taking a book from the library. You know that even when you were away, the library was doing its work – connecting readers and books.
- Spread the News – Every few months we add new books and send out a Facebook message to the neighborhood. Each time we post a few more people learn about Little Free Libraries.
- Create a Project – You can purchase or build your own Little Free Library. What a wonderful event for parent teacher organizations, youth groups, clubs, families and even a reading conference. At NCTE last year, educators from across the globe built several Little Free Libraries right in the exhibit hall.
- Receive Messages from Readers – Readers leave notes in the Little Free Library asking for books – Do you have any more graphic novels? I really liked Paper Things. Do you have any more books like that? These notes just make my day!
- Add Yourself to the Map: Join the Little Free Library Community and put your library on the map – Our dot is right there in Lexington, Massachusetts.
- Get Books in Readers’ Hands: As Donalyn Miller writers, “Reading changes your life. Reading unlocks worlds unknown or forgotten, taking travelers around the world and through time. Reading helps you escape the confines of school and pursue your own education.” The more books available to children, the more lives we can change.
We have loved it so much that this year we are putting one in Clare’s yard. Consider creating one in your community or contribute to this important cause by donating and becoming a friend of Little Free Library.
Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan currently lead Teachers for Teachers. They provide professional development to several districts as external staff developers. Tammy and Clare are the authors of Assessment in Perspective: Focusing on the Reader Behind the Numbers. You can find them on Twitter as @clareandtammy and online at AssessmentinPerspective.com.
What a great idea. Love it.
Such a great idea. We have something very similar here in my little rural town in Australia.
Thank you so much for this awesome article! I’ve never even considered starting a Little Free Library. And now I’m totally convinced that I need to build one. I love that you discuss meeting your neighbors. I also love the idea of notes left asking for similar books. That’s really cool. And then there’s learning about books you hadn’t come across. Nice! Thanks again for this intro to the positives of the Little Free Library.
I love these so much and want to fill them all up! Thanks for sharing–I had no idea there was a network and just found several in my town. 🙂
I love these Little Free Libraries and in fact featured one in an upcoming Jigsaw Jones mystery. Great piece & nice images, too.
Hooray for Little Free Libraries! I’m determined to put one in my yard this year. Thank you for the nudge to talk with my town and get my plan moving.
Reblogged this on Michelle Eastman Books.
Yes! They take on lives of their own. I love watching my LFL fill and change at the hand of the community!
I love these so much! I haven’t seen any of these in my town but the ‘big’ city we shop in has a few in front of stores in strip malls. They’re amazing.
I love the idea behind Little Free Libraries. It’s wonderful that your neighborhood has taken to it. The one problem I’ve seen is that in some places, such as the high school where my boyfriend teaches, instead of showing respect for others’ belongings or taking advantage of the opportunity to build literacy and community, some of the teens in the area destroy the books, vandalize the free libraries, and otherwise ruin their neighbors’ ability to share and partake in this wonderful idea. Has anyone else encountered this problem?
This is such a super idea and the ‘kiosks’ whimsical and inviting. Even the bar fridge is put to good use. Love it. Love it. 😀
I’ve been working at a volunteer-run bookstore, and several people come by to purchase book specifically for their little free libraries. They too have gotten to know their neighborhood readers, & are looking for special books for certain people, not just children. Isn’t that terrific? Thanks for this enthusiastic post, I hope I can create my own this summer!
I remember at NCTE when you both wanted to find the Little Free Library table, but they had already gone. How wonderful that you went ahead and did it anyway. Love this post!!
I love these things! Every time I walk by the one on my neighborhood it makes me smile! 🙂
I only remember ever running into one in the wild once, but surely it will begin to happen more often. I love the repurposed refrigerator & newspaper machine here.
What a wonderful idea! I absolutely love the thought of neighbors sharing books. This is such an easy discussion starter, which is so important since many can hardly raise their eyes from their devices to say hello. Your top 10 reasons were great and made me think, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to hear neighborhood kids recommending books to one another?” It also made me think how wonderful it would be if some of these could be set up in low income neighborhoods. I am sure people would be happy to donate books for this cause.
Hello everybody, i agree with your nice ideas and advices for people. I have few questions about it to be create. If i want to create it in my home country, will i pay some cost for copyright or is it free to use this idea. Please share your experiences to me. Thank you, Bayra
I built one for our subdivision how can I send you a picture?
Thank you for this inspiring article. Continued sucess.