You’ve raised a reader and their love of books makes you one proud parent. But sometimes there are a few too many to fit the shelves, you’ve been gifted duplicates or they’ve just outgrown ’em. Why not start a Little Free Library in your community? Click through our gallery of inspiring Little Free Libraries and then check our our tips and tricks for starting your own below.

Santa Rosa, California

photo: Sara Olsher

Tips & Tricks

How it works: The Little Free Library organization started as a non-profit in 2009 to help increase literacy and encourage access to books for all ages and stages. The principle is pretty simple—take a book, leave a book. You can stock yours with a few favorites to start with and you’ll be surprised how quickly books change and exchange.

How to do it: You can build your own from scratch and Little Free Library even has plans and tips. You can also purchase a pre-made library in a variety of different designs or a basic one which you can customize with paint and your own flair. Be creative with your library: we’ve seen everything from libraries painted perfectly to match the owner’s house to converted curio cabinets: just make sure it is waterproof and has a glass door that makes it easy to see what is inside.

Do this: Once you’ve got your library built, be sure and register your library. You get an official plaque to hang on your library and you can even register it on the world map.

No yard? No problem. What about starting a Little Free Library at your kid’s school, a local community center, at a park, or in front of a city or county building? You can even approach a local business and see if they are interested in having one in front. Naturally, you’ll need the property owner and organization on board, so check with your local parks department, etc. but it can be a great way to give back to the community and involve the kiddos.

Do you have a Little Free Library in your neighborhood? Share a photo on Instagram with the tag #redtricycle so we can see it! 

—Amber Guetebier

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