Little Free Library

by | Aug 20, 2012 | about-books, Julie | 20 comments

Do you know about Little Free Library? The first time I heard about it, I had an immediate dream to have a Little Free Library of my own. The problem is that we have a house we’re constantly tearing apart, and four kids hanging from us needing some sort of parenting, and all those other life things, and taking the time out to make a little wooden box we’d fill with books seemed sort of frivolous. So I never mentioned it.

Then one day Dave and I were talking about community, and giving back, and teaching the kids about service, and suddenly I was rambling on, and on, about Little Free Libraries and how they embody all of my favorite notions of service: literacy, serving your immediate neighborhood, and fun and surprises where you don’t expect them (ok, I don’t think that last one is really a legitimate “notion of service,” but it’s one of my favorite things about life).

And Dave, wonder that he is, thought it was a great idea and started helping me build one the next day. We were able to use leftover shingles so it matches our house. We involved the kids as much as could in the design and building. And of course we had to put in a light — we get a lot of late-night dog walkers, and I wanted them to be able to pick books at midnight. (Another dream I didn’t know I had: the desire to give late-night dog walkers a way to choose books in the dark.)

I am so happy and proud about this. I’ve been spending a lot of time staring at the Little Free Library, hand over my heart, and sighing.

Plus it’s my first library job! I’ve got to put that MLS to use sometime!

Little Free Library | World of Julie

Little Free Library | World of Julie

Little Free Library | World of Julie

Little Free Library inside sticker | World of Julie

Here’s the sticker we designed for the inside. We made it so it looks like a library card in a pocket, but it’s got our address, and, under date due, says, “WHENEVER.”

Little Free Library at night | World of Julie

The Library at night.

If you’re in South Portland, stop on by! Little Free Library #2354 open and ready for reading!


  1. Stacy

    Thanks for this. I wanted to mention this for our neighborhood revamped community center.

  2. Julie

    A community center would be a perfect place for one!

  3. susan

    Julie, that is totally fantastic! It’s perfect and beautiful!

  4. Beth Stilborn

    This is fantastic! It has such a professional look to it — kudos to your husband and to you!

    I must share this with my friend who wants to put one up at our church. She will be delighted to see yours.

  5. Jessy at Our Side of the Mountain

    Stopping by from Maine Homeschooling Questions, Answers and Ideas on Facebook! What a cute little library! And a great idea! Love it!

  6. Robyn

    And now my hand is over my heart, sighing. Oh, would that we lived down the block!

  7. cat macri

    Wow Julie you are just AMAZING!

  8. Beth

    I love the Little Free Library! You guys are the best. Hope your knee is healing…

  9. Julie

    Beth, you should stop on by!!

  10. Natalie Wright

    Just hopped over from Design Mom- you have inspired me! I am already making up plans to build my own little free library. What a wonderful concept. Thank you for the wonderful idea!

  11. amanda

    my mind is blown! I have never heard of a free library like this! and your’s is sooooo beautiful. I must make my own. can you tell me how the light works? absolutely brilliant! thanks ~

  12. Julie

    Natalie, so glad to have inspired you! I love how this idea takes hold. As soon as I heard about it, I HAD to make one, and now I’m so happy to be the one telling other people about it!

  13. Julie

    Amanda, the light is a recessed 3-LED cabinet light we got at Rockler. We hooked it up to the timer we use for Christmas lights — it’s an outdoor timer that you can set to “Dusk to Dawn.” So it automatically goes on when it gets dark, and turns off in the morning.

  14. Ishta Mercurio

    This is wonderful! How did you get the light inside? Did you wire it from the house? I love it!

  15. Julie

    Ishta, it’s an LED “puck” light we got from Rockler. We installed it into the ceiling of the LFL, and hooked it up to the same timer (outdoor outlet) that we plug our Christmas lights into. So it stays on all night, and we don’t have to remember to turn it on or off. You should make one!

  16. Katherine (Eddy) Friedman

    Julie, this is so lovely and impressive. Were I not on a back country road….but I shall have to admire yours when I’m next visiting my parents :0)

  17. Nicole Marquis

    Oh my WORD! I kept the picture hidden while I read the post so that I would focus on the words and not just zoom through the images. I was not expecting something so professional and amazing, not that I expected something sloppy, but you know what I mean! I am in absolute awe, and totally inspired. I live in Bath, so I WILL be making a trip to your Little Free Library to take pictures and spread its specialness. Then when the time is right, I will have a perfect example to work from. Our house is right on a sidewalk that has many pedestrians going by, so it would be a great place for the Lib. And your sticker…where did you have that made? This made my morning!

  18. Julie

    Nicole! Isn’t it beautiful? If I had made it myself, it would be all lopsided and leaky. Dave is amazing. The sticker! I made it myself! When you do your own LFL, I’ll send you the file.

    Make sure you ring the doorbell and say hi when you come visit!

  19. Jessica

    I just found this post thanks to a pinterest pin! I LOVE this library! I hope to build my own this summer. I was wondering if you would be willing to share your sticker with me. I’ve been trying to find a cute label for the backs of my books that I share and would also love to use them if we do make a little free library.

  20. Julie

    Hi Jessica! Send me a message through the contact form on this site and I’ll send you the file with my label. BUT, I will say that I don’t sticker the books anymore — it turned out to be a bit of a pain, especially if I wanted to rotate some books and donate some from the LFL to the actual library, and then those books had my address in them.



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