Take a Book, Return a Book

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Little Free Library #11920 is open for business!

I have been on pins and needles for months about this project. As I mentioned in March, I joined up with the Alpha-Bits and Little Free Library partnership to promote literacy. We still eat Alpha-Bits regularly (they are a particular favorite of Julius’s) and at last we have set up our very own Little Free Library:

IMG_5077Putting this together was a bigger project than we’d anticipated. We received the little house part of the library in the mail along with instructions on how to mount it to a post. Looked easy enough but neither Mike nor I, I’m sorry to say, is terribly handy! I thought that we could just go to a big box hardware store and have them cut posts and brackets, but alas, that plan did not work out.

IMG_4947Lucky for us, we have awesome neighbors, and our friend Don cut the brackets for us and drilled holes and pre-assembled the post and also had a nifty post digging tool to get a good deep hole dug for us. I don’t have any pictures of Don but HUGE thank you to him because we could not have done this without him! This made it a true neighborhood project right out of the gate so that’s pretty cool too.

IMG_4952Julius was hard at work for this project: on the first day he carried clods of dirt by the teeny tiny handful from the hole in the front yard to the garage where Don and Mike were working, handing them to Don each time. Then when we were pouring concrete and sinking the post he helped by shlepping cans of water from the water table to the hole, and also out to the driveway, which was looking a little parched.IMG_4948Have I mentioned that Mike and I are not handy? Our attempts to level the post were probably endearingly inept. We decided the post should be vertical more than the top should be horizontal but we only set the level along one side of the post, realizing later after the concrete was set that it should also not be tipping forward but we got lucky on that score. That we managed to do this at all is impressive enough….
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Miles also wanted to help by ferrying shovels full of kitty litter from the garage (we have a bag of kitty litter we are using to dispose of old paint) up to the front yard and dumping them in the hole. A little kitty litter couldn’t really hurt, we figured. Of course this ended in sadness eventually because he could have continued literally for hours but we had to shut it down after the hole was filled.IMG_4956 On yet another day, Mike mounted the library itself to the post. Miles was home sick from school this day and Mike had off work, so after he was done putting the library together I went out and primed and painted it inside and out. Mike forgot to take pictures of me painting so just imagine me in jeans and giant New England Patriots hoodie.IMG_4994 It was hard to wait another day to officially open the library, but I knew it would be better for the paint to cure overnight. The next morning I stocked it full of books! I still plan to add some decorative touches to the library exterior but I could not wait to just get it going and spread the word that our LFL was open.IMG_5074Alpha-Bits and Little Free Library provided us with ten children’s books to get started, with a variety of titles for all ages. In fact I kind of want to borrow The Golden Compass myself when I’m done with what I’m reading at the moment! Mike and I filled the rest of the space with books from our personal shelves, all novels at this point with the exception of a memoir called Reading Lolita in Tehran that I enjoyed a few years ago. The books that we contributed have a LFL bookplate sticker inside with our names and why we recommend the book to our neighbors.
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I registered our library on the official LFL map, but it will probably take several weeks to show up there due to high volume. One of the original goals of Little Free Library was to build at least as many libraries as Andrew Carnegie – 2,510. They surpassed that goal in 2012 and now have roughly 15,000 around the world! Mine is charter #11920. So be sure to check the map and find out if there is one near you. If not… want to build your own?IMG_5080 You can build your own Little Free Library either by purchasing a kit from their site, or building your own and making it official by ordering a Steward’s packet and charter sign. I adore this project because not only do I love books, I love sharing books, and I love being part of a community. What better way than to build connections right in my own neighborhood? It feels good to offer something that is just free for all to enjoy. In fact one of our neighbors passing by joked that we could put a bench there for people to sit down and browse books on the spot, and Mike and I both said hey… that’s a good idea!IMG_5081And thanks of course to Alpha-Bits for helping bring more Little Free Libraries to more neighborhoods, not to mention some great books for kids (Berenstain Bears, Dr. Seuss, Junie B. Jones, and more).
IMG_5082 I have posted about the LFL on our neighborhood Facebook page, on NextDoor (another good site for getting to know your neighbors!), and I may do some local press in upcoming months to spread the word. If you happen to live in Omaha, come on by and tell everyone you know! I can’t wait for people to adopt this as part of our community. We’ve already have a few loans go out, and I’m so excited that it’s hard for me not to run out and check what they took every time someone borrows a book, but I’ll try not to be a creepy stalker about the whole thing, haha.

I also highly recommend, wherever you are, that if you love books you should follow Little Free Library on Facebook and Instagram – they post a lot of great photos of LFLs all over the world. People get so creative! I have some more ideas up my sleeve for ours too so stay tuned for updates…. Yay books!

IMG_5083This post and indeed the library itself were sponsored by Post Alpha-Bits cereal and Little Free Library in their partnership to promote literacy through blogger outreach. Happy to be a part of it!

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