Little Free Libraries: Using Books To Build Communities

**The posts I write might contain affiliate links or be written in collaboration with businesses or brands. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.**


We love great ideas and innovation.

Especially innovation that encourages families to read and spend slow family time together. That is exactly what I found when I read this article from 2010 on an innovative fellow named Todd Bol and his Little Free Libraries.

Little Free Libraries

Here’s an excerpt from The Daily Nightly at MSN News:

MADISON — Three years ago Todd Bol came up with an idea to remember his mother, a teacher who had loved books and encouraged people to read.  At his home in Hudson, Wisc., he built a box, made it waterproof and filled it with books.  It looked like a miniature one-room schoolhouse, with a sign underneath that said “Free Book Exchange.” Bol put it on a post outside of his house and invited neighbors to take a book, and return a book.

That’s when something happened Bol says he never could have imagined.

“There’s a primal need,” he said, “for people to be a part of their community.  We have people tell us all the time in seven days of having a Little Free Library I’ve met more people than I have met in 20 years in my neighborhood.”

“People of all ages, men, women, kids came up and just loved the library,” he said.  “They got excited and they started coming up to me saying, ‘I’ll build one, do you need books?’”  

Little Free4 Libraries

Part of the allure of the Little Free Libraries, Bol said, is that you don’t need a library card.  There are no fees, no fines and no operating hours.  The Little Free Libraries are open for business 24/7.  So any time of day, people can get a book or share a book, hopefully a page turner.

Here’s a map of all the Little Free Libraries nationwide. Do you see one near you?

To learn more about Todd and the amazing concept of Little Free Libraries, check out their website HERE.

Something To Do:

Are you the DIY-type? How about building your own Little Free Library?

Create your own Little Free Libraries! Todd and crew have many resources for the “do-it-yourself-er.”

Little Free Libraries are typically roughly 20” wide by 15” deep by 18” high and on a sturdy post or secure foundation. You most certainly can vary the dimensions as you see appropriate.

  • Use recycled and found materials if you can.
  • Demonstrate green building techniques and materials whenever possible.
  • Build and finish the Library to last. Use screws rather than nails, and several coats of stain, paint or sealer.

Want to see plans and instructions?  Click HERE.

Be creative! Creating a Little Free Library doesn’t need to be fancy or take a ton of time and money.

Want to see what others have created? Check out the Neighborhood Library Builders Guild on Facebook.

How creatively could YOU build a Little Free Library??


Valarie Budayr is the founder of Audrey Press and author of the books The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden and The Ultimate Guide To Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. She is passionate about making kid’s books come alive and when she isn’t jumping into a book and creating wildly inventive adventures, she is “mom” to three uber creative children, married to a wonderfully patient man, one adored cat, and the Fox Whisperer to lots and lots of Foxes (that come and go as they please). You can also find Valarie on Facebook at (facebook link for JIAB) or on Twitter at @Bookjumper.

4 thoughts on “Little Free Libraries: Using Books To Build Communities

    1. Your Little Library is so cute. I may have to put one up of my own. 🙂 Thanks for sharing a link to your site so all can see.

    1. Pam, your Little Free Library is wonderful! (love the colors). Thanks for all that your do to encourage kids to read and love reading. You are awesome!

Comments are closed.