The Family Home Blog

How to Start a Little Free Library in Your Area

Sep 09, 2015
Diane Hoffmaster

Libraries are a wonderful way to reduce the carbon footprint of our reading habits. Millions of books are available to read for absolutely no out of pocket cost and they can be read over and over again by many people. Of course, libraries are not always close by and occasionally they are closed when you most want to visit one. Recently, a new trend has been popping up across the country called, The Little Free Library.

The Little Free Library movement was started in Hudson, Wis. by a retiree, Todd Bol, who started building miniature houses in his spare time. He stuck some books in one and placed it in his front yard. Soon enough, neighbors started requesting their own ‘Little Libraries,’ and a movement was born. The organization became a nonprofit in 2012, and today about 25,000 little libraries have exchanged about 40 million books.  

How to Start a Little Free Library in Your Area 

So essentially, The Little Free Library is a decorative box on a post with a door and small roof. Inside there are an assortment of books, donated by local individuals. Rules vary by location but basically it is a 'take one and leave one' system of book sharing among friends and neighbors.  If you would like to start a Little Free Library in your own neighborhood, here are a few things to consider before tackling this green project!

Get approval. Before you start building, make sure you have chosen a good location and get approval for the installation of your Little Free Library. If you live in a neighborhood with a Home Owners Association or you plan on putting it on public property, make sure you get the okay from your local alderman’s office and get the scoop on any permits you’ll need first!

Create your box. The first step is to actually create the wooden library box. You will want something approximately 20 inches wide, 15 inches deep and 18 inches high, but the actual dimensions are fairly flexible. You will want to set it on a strong post that is cemented into the ground, and the box itself should have one or two shelves inside to make it neat. You can get actual designs on the Little Free Library website at You can also purchase pre-made kits online. Make sure that you waterproof it before adding books inside!

Stock your library. You need to fill your library up before people visit. Think of your demographics and add a wide variety of books for adults and children. You can include magazines as well. Inexpensive books can be purchased from garage sales to get your library started.

Publicize it. You will need to get the word out about your Little Free Library. Put up a sign on the box so people understand what it is. Tell your friends, put a notice in your local newspaper or Neighborhood Association publication. Eventually, word will spread about your project!

Do you have a Little Free Library in your area?

Photo courtesy of Diane Hoffmaster.

You might also like
It is always fun to make recycled crafts that are useful. This DIY craft for recycled book ...
Every week, millions of people take their recycling bin to the curb for pick-up, which is ...
Keeping the family busy this summer can become expensive if you’re doing a lot of outings. ...
More by this author
With summer in full swing, wildlife is incredibly abundant in most areas. Bird watching ca ...
Summer is in full swing and beach vacations can provide an immense amount of enjoyment. Wh ...
This easy Egg Carton Pumpkin Craft Project can make upcycling fun for kids! Crafting is a ...

No Comments so far. Be the first to comment.

Post a comment


Please enter your comment.

Example: "Todd from Chicago" or "The Silva's from Texas." To protect your privacy, you may want to use only a first name or nickname
Please read our Terms of Use in the link below.
  • Keep in mind that by submitting stories/comments/pictures/videos, you're confirming that you own them and they're only about you and other family members who have agreed that the content/images may appear on SC Johnson's web site indefinitely and anywhere in the world, without compensating you/them or obtaining any further permission from anyone. You understand that we may include your first name and state as the person making the submission.
  • In addition, as a family company, we support your family's right to privacy. Remember that if you post stories/comments/pictures/videos that include or mention family members - especially those under 18 - you're acknowledging that the items will be online and accessible to anyone on the Internet.
By submitting this form, I'm agreeing to the Terms of Use.
To help prevent spam, please enter the words you see in the box below.

Blogger Panel
© 2018 S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc. All Rights reserved Home Privacy Terms of Use Search Site Map