I have always loved the idea of Little Free Libraries. Everything about them makes me feel happy. If you’re unfamiliar, the concept is that they’re mini depots (although someone sent this massive one to me on Twitter!) where books are shared within communities. The premise is that you can take a book and leave a book, passing good reads among strangers in your community. They have been popping up in all kinds of places, from public storefronts on main streets to private backyards.
I’m such a big advocate for reading and it’s a huge part of my life, so I always knew I’d want one in my front yard ~someday~. When I realized we were actually going to buy a house this year, setting up a Little Free Library went to the top of my to-do list. As I prepared to move, I also ended up giving away about 60 copies of books that I had accumulated in my Hoboken apartment. The plan was to put them outside on a Saturday (high foot traffic day) and have people walk by and pick up a book if it pleased them. I ended up getting stopped by people as I was bringing out the books and was asked to give book recommendations and help people choose a title based on what they’ve liked in the past. I LOVED IT and it got me even more excited for the little library.
After doing a bit of research, I ended up getting this kit from Etsy. I would 100% recommend it as it’s handmade, extremely high quality, and comes from a family-owned business. In fact, it’s run by the family members of Todd Bol, the creator of the Little Free Library, and operated in his honor. (He passed away last fall.)
I had a ton of inquiries about the kit and, while I absolutely recommend it, I wanted to type out some of the tips I had versus just quickly mentioning where I got it from. I definitely made a few mistakes, so I’m hoping to save some people some trouble.
The libraries are available in a few different sizes (and can be used as a free pantry or a blessing box too, which I love). I purchased the cozy size, which is perfect for our front yard. I worried it would be too small, but as you can see below, it fits quite a few books and doesn’t take up too much real estate on our petite yard.
So, I ordered the library, it shows up and the instructions keep mentioning a “pole topper” and pre-drilled holes. My library had no pre-drilled holes and I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what a pole topper was. After sending a few messages to the sellers, I realized that the buried in the details of listing it mentions that you have to purchase a separate pole topper if you want to put yours on a pole, which I ultimately did want to do.
If I had done that initially, it wouldn’t have been such a big undertaking. Since I didn’t though, I had to order and wait for the pole topper to arrive and drill the holes myself to connect the pole topper which wasn’t the easiest. Did I mention that I decided to tackle this project by myself on a Saturday afternoon? It took me a long time and I had to buy a new drill and I was drenched in sweat because it was 95 degrees. This is all to say: do yourself a favor and purchase the pole topper if you want your library to stand up! If you purchase a pole topper with your library, the company will pre-drill the holes for you and you can avoid my extra work!
You will have to go to your local hardware store to purchase the 4″x4″ pole, which they cut down for me. I think I paid $3 for mine because they serendipitously had a piece already cut to the length they recommended.
And the wood is, well wood. So if you’re not going to paint it, then you should pick up a nice stain to seal and weatherproof it. I chose to paint it the same colors as our house so it matches and I freaking love how it came out.
I also bought little flower boxes to put on the side, but naturally, that was the ONLY part of the assembly that I truly couldn’t do by myself. At some point, I’ll have Mike give me a hand with attaching them!
We’re on a very residential non-cut through road so most of our library “traffic” will be coming from our neighbors. I LOVE our neighbors and they were all excited to hear about the addition to the neighborhood. There are tons of kids of all ages so I hope they enjoy it too!!
I went to our local bookstore to pick up a few children’s books and copies of a few of my favorites to get the library going. A couple of my neighbors have added some good young adult books to the mix too!
I love that this is just another way to connect with people, especially in a small neighborhood. Books absolutely bring people together. And I hope even more people are inspired to do the same! (And if you see one of these, consider leaving one of your favorite books behind… it’s so fun.)