Monday, July 25, 2016

Little Free Libraries with Leslie {Guest Post}

Hi new friends! Leslie here from over at Once Upon a Time & Happily Ever After. Don't worry, this IS Katie's blog but that lucky duck has gone on vacation. She asked a few of her blogger buddies to guest post while she is soaking up the sun in Punta Cana. Can't wait to see her pics and read all about her vacay adventures. I know she will have a fabulous time. I met Katie through the "Get Your Pretty On" (GYPO) style challenges that we both participated in. We are both librarians, although I could easily be Katie's mom or possibly even her grandmother. Yikes! Of the hundreds of gals who participated in GYPO, Katie was one of my favorites with her winning smile and great style sense. And, of course, there's the library thing... So, today I am going to talk libraries with you; to be exact, Little Free Libraries. Have you heard of them? Maybe you've seen one in a park or outside of a public library building near you? They are usually small, wooden boxes of books where people are invited to take a book or bring a book to share with others.

Little Free Library

The first Little Free Library (LFL) was the brain child of Todd Bol. In 2009, he built a wooden box painted like a one room school house to honor his mother, a teacher who loved to read.  The LFL was so popular among Bol's friends and family, that he built a few more and gave them away. And the rest, as they say, is history. You can read more on the official Little Free Library website, here.

Fast forward to Zavala Elementary School, El Paso, Texas, fall 2011. My fellow elementary school librarian and sweet friend Lisa Lopez Williamson introduced the first LFL in the state of Texas.
Little Free Library

Lisa spoke about to our school district librarians about the success of the Zavala LFL and I was bitten by the bug. The demographics of the students at her school were very similar to those of my babies at H.R. Moye. Largely bilingual kids who spoke English as a second language. Living in low socio-economic circumstances where literacy and library usage are not always a priority.
When I contacted her for more information later that fall, Lisa offered to sponsor a Little Free Library for Moye. I met with her at the University of Texas, El Paso to complete the LFL stewardship paperwork and pick up my our library.
Little Free Library
I was so excited to bring this opportunity to my sweet students. Our LFL was created from a cranberry crate. The white sign across the top of the crate is the official charter for this particular library. Each Little Free Library is registered with LFL , given an official charter sign and charter number. By registering, stewards of each LFL gain access to a network of benefits and are allowed to use the name Little Free Library.

Next, I introduced the LFL to my students. It was love at first sight. They were excited to learn that our library would be the second LFL in El Paso and in the state of Texas.
Little Free Library
I invited the third, fourth and fifth graders to create posters explaining the "take a book, leave a book" idea behind our LFL.
Little Free Library
They did a fabulous job. And the posters created a buzz of excitement for our library.

Finally, it was time to put the library to use. I bought a little iron table for the LFL at Hobby Lobby. Then added a yard gnome who had always served as one of our shelf elves as created in the books by Jackie Hopkins.
Little Free Library
Little Free Library
And with that, the H.R. Moye Elementary School Little Free Library was open for business.
Little Free Library
I moved the LFL out into the main lobby of the school so parents and our whole school community could easily access it.

I retired from Moye two years later but the Little Free Library is still there providing books to children who might not otherwise have a book they can call their own.
Lisa Lopez Williamson continues to do wonderful work spreading the word about Little Free Libraries here in El Paso and across the entire southwest. The El Paso Community Foundation has recently funded a grant that will enable Lisa to bring LFLs to other parts of the city. The education department at the University of Texas, El Paso, is in line to receive one as well as another elementary school near Moye on the northeast side of town.

If you are interested in learning more or perhaps even purchasing a Little Free Library for a business, school or neighborhood near you, please follow this link for information. Katie and I will be teaming up in a few weeks for a blog post about the books on our summer reading shelves. Would be honored to have you stop by my blog for our Summer Book Shelf posts, the first one is here.

Thank you for sharing a bit of your day with me. Have a wonderful week and be sure to stop by again tomorrow to meet another of our mutual friends and to read her guest post.
Hugs and kisses,


  1. Hope you are well on your way to a wonderful day on the beach. Safe travels and have a fabulous time. Thank you for allowing me to guest post!!

  2. I have seen a couple of these in the city and have wanted to start one. Maybe I will!

    1. You know, Deena, you can use any kind of box and just purchase the charter number if you want to make it an official LFL. If you are out and about and see one, please snap a pic for me!

  3. I just love these, I haven't seen anything like this in my area, but I think it's just such a great idea!

    1. My kids/students love them. Will be sharing the one I opened at the library where I was last school year on my blog. It turned out so cute!!

  4. I've never seen this before but it's such an amazing idea!! I love that it gives all kids/families a chance to participate! So awesome to share with your students.

  5. What a great thing to set up for kids and growing their enthusiasm for reading. You always impress me with all you do for kids and their families. You truly have a compassion for learning and helping.

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  6. I want to do this this year with the kids at my school!! So fun! Thanks so much for guest posting this week! xo

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