Several months ago I was introduced to an organization called Little Free Library. “Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.”
I first heard about this program through the City of Tempe when they introduced their Little Library rebate program. The city is offering rebates for the installation of the Little Libraries in Tempe neighborhoods. Homeowners and non-profit organizations that purchase, install and register a Little Library can receive up to a $300 rebate to offset the costs. If you purchase a pre-cut, pre-drilled library from the nonprofit’s website, it will cost about $300. If you build it yourself, it will cost less. Plans for DIY libraries are on the LFL website, and the sky is the limit if you want to design and build your own.
To be sustainable, and affordable, I went to the City of Tempe Household Products Collection Center (HPCC) to see what paint they had. I knew I wanted to paint the library some sort of blue or green color because we wanted to decorate it with an ocean theme. The HPCC is a place where Tempe residents can take paint, household cleaners, and other toxic items to be disposed of properly. They also recycle paint cans that are usable. If you are painting a gate, room, or doing some touch-up painting around your house, this is the perfect place to go pick up some paint for free. I went early on a Saturday morning and after sorting through the cans of paint looking for Exterior Latex paint for my library, I hit the jackpot! They had an assortment of sample paints that were various shades of greens and blues that just screamed “ocean” to me!
While this seemed like a fun project and I do love books, this has had an effect on me that I never could have imagined. You see, when my kids were little (they are now adults), we would frequent book stores for story time, browsing, and just sit and read. I loved to read. So much so that I studied Literature and even traveled and studied in Europe, including a class on Expatriate Writers in Venice in conjunction with the University of Venice, in Italy. Over the past several years though, I’ve lost my love for reading for pleasure. I read so many contracts, emails, manage social media, read text messages, and so on, that my love for reading for pleasure has diminished. I read business related books, self-help books, and required reading.
Building this library has brought back so many memories though. Nothing makes me smile like the smell of a bookstore and coffee. As well as remind me why I love to read, building this library has also been a catalyst for new memories. My daughter who loves the ocean (and works at the Aquarium) helped me decorate the library. We had so much fun. Before I was even finished with the library the neighbors were already contributing books. I also included books from my neighbor who passed away recently. He loved reading and loved this community. I put some of his books in the library in honor of him.
The mission of the Little Free Library organization is to inspire a love of reading, build community, and spark creativity. They have done exactly that and that’s only on day one! If you live in Tempe, Arizona and want to find out if funds are still available in your zipcode, visit tempe.gov to read more about the rebate program. If you want to see if there is a Little Free Library near you, the LittleFreeLibrary.org website has a map of all registered libraries.
Have a happy Saturday, friends! I’ve made my coffee and I’m going to go read now. ❤