My Little Free Library promotes literacy and sharing in neighborhoods

Father and two sons built it for mom's birthday
Posted at 8:00 AM, Mar 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-28 08:00:29-04

My Little Free Library is exactly what it sounds, a small box, the size of a large birdhouse that houses free books for people to come take and read, then leave new books or return old ones.

The little book exchange boxes sit outside people's homes on their lawn, similar to a mailbox, but they offer so much more.

And anyone can create a library.

For the McFaddens, it started when 8-year-old Connor noticed his mom, Rachel, loved the My Little Free Library they saw on vacation in North Carolina. The family then started visiting the Little Library in Belvedere Square.

Connor suggested they build one for his mom for her birthday.

It was a group effort, between Connor, his dad, Marty, and his younger brother, Toby. Marty said it took about a month of work to put together the mini version of their home.

The little library went up two years ago, and is holding up strong, still full of books, and thank you notes in the guest book.

"I like it a lot because people can bring books and take books and you can just read whatever books are in there," Connor said.

Neighbors are fond of the idea too, and described the importance of reading, saying it makes you smarter, takes you on an adventure and connects you with friends and family.

"When I read about like jungles or something. I feel like I'm in a jungle and I'm like a monkey or a lion or something," 6-year-old Grace Walen said.

7-year-old Luke Walen said when he sees people go to the little free library, "they're getting smarter because they're about to read and they're excited."

While the kids are only in elementary school, they know My Little Free Library is an important tool for the community that brings them together and teaches kids life skills and how to share.

"We kind of figured we had the perfect spot for it," Marty said, referencing the elementary school across the street.

"We get lots of requests for tween books, so if anyone has any of those feel free to drop them off," Marty said. 

Neighbors say since this My Little Free Library was built, more have popped up in the neighborhood.

The non-profit started in Wisconsin, seeing a need for books to be more widely accessible, and is now in more than 70 countries with more than 50,000 libraries.