Happy Sunday, friends! With the sun shining on this holiday weekend, it seemed like the perfect time to tell you more about my Little Free Library.
For Mother’s Day this year, I asked my son Leo to build me a Little Free Library. A Little Free Library looks like a bird house, but actually houses a selection of free books that the neighborhood can take and restock as they like. The first Little Free Library was built in 2009 and since then more than 75,000 public book exchanges have popped up all over the country and are registered here.
I first learned about these cute little libraries last year during shutdown when I read about how one of my favorite bloggers Carly Riordan built one for her front yard. I thought it was such a cute idea. I started to notice them all over a nearby community, but none in our neighborhood.
My middle guy Leo is very handy has loved his wood shop classes in high school. He has built many, many benches so I thought this Little Free Library would be a fun departure for him and I loved the idea of having something permanent that he built as part of our house. Mother’s Day this year was the perfect time to cash in on this idea.
Because Mother’s Day falls just as the kids were ramping up for finals, my husband took the lead on hunting down some plans for building the Free Little Library. There are loads of pre-made kits available on Etsy, but he felt better about building something from scratch that he knew could handle our Chicago weather. He found these plans from At Home With Ashley and our Free Little Library turned out just as I hoped. The guys were able to complete the bulk of the building on Mother’s Day, and then Leo put on all of the finishing touches later in the week, including painting it to match our house.
One little tip if you purchase a pre-cut kit: Most kits don’t come with the poles to post the library on. I have a feeling this is something most people want–so just know going into this project that it’s something you’ll have to plan for.
I love that this little library is another fun way to connect with people, especially in a small neighborhood. Books absolutely bring people together. Last week, I had a little third grader stop by with a few books, but ended up taking them back home because she thought the library was just for grownups. After mentioning this to the Lake Forest Book Store, they’ve helped make my little library a book source for everyone on our street.
Our little library sits under these very tall pine trees on the corner of our lot. When we bought our house 15 years ago, the sellers had left some big yellow toy trucks under the trees for our children to play with. About a year ago, I finally threw those trucks away–they’d had a good run! This library feels like the perfect replacement for those trucks that entertained so many for a whole lot of years. I hope that if you’re walking by our house, you’ll take a book or consider leaving one that you’ve loved.