“It’s part of our daily ritual. Going to check the mail and the book box is a really fun part of our day.” For the Daniels family, these trips to their Little Free Library symbolize more than just walking and books. It represents a chance to help their community and make family memories.
“We have a really long driveway, so a trip down and back is 15 minutes of dad and kid time,” said Aron Daniels. “My sons view it as a thing that adds quality time. We have also looked up the local book boxes and make them part of our trips. I love how simple it is to make a magical stop for my kids to find a new book and give some.”
You may already be familiar with the concept of the Little Free Library. Within neighborhoods, one may see a box structure with a clear glass door filled with free books for citizens to take, read, and share.
“I’ve seen little free libraries on several trips to the parks and when visiting friends and family. I loved the idea the first time I saw one. In our house, we have encouraged books more than most other things. Now that my oldest son has the reading bug, I wanted to keep pushing and find a way to amplify that reading is important.”
After speaking with neighbors who would be directly impacted by the local book box, Daniels ordered the materials, registered it with www.LittleFreeLibrary.org, and hit the ground running with getting neighbors familiar with the book box.
“It was as simple as putting it up one weekend. A little bit after it was up and the neighbors had seen it, we took books to all the local houses. We put bags of books in a wagon and wheeled it around. In each bag along with a book, we had an invitation to visit the box and an explanation of what it is, as well as a bookmark so they’d have a little reminder floating around.”
The family also found a creative way for maintaining the book collection. After the book box was up for a week, Daniels had a local used bookstore gather books for him to purchase. He aims to keep a wide assortment of books available, including biographies, best-sellers, and children’s books.
“I want anybody who stops by to be able to find something they may want to take. I was able to get a ton of books from the used bookstore that I shuffle in with whatever books people bring to the box. Each time I swap books out, which is usually two or three weeks, I post on the local neighborhood Facebook page to let the locals know to come check it out.”
Anyone can start their own Little Free Library in their area. It is a quick and simple process to get your book box on the national map, and Daniels has only one piece of advice for those who are interested: “Do it!”
“Any time you have a way to add to your community, do it. There are some things like a book box that can be special. Just find the right place, in your neighborhood or local community space, purchase a box or register a structure on the website, and make it happen.”
Looking at the mission of the Little Free Library, Daniels says he isn’t just adding books to his community, but is also spreading a love for reading. Books can introduce people to new worlds, adventures, and stories. All we need to do is share this passion with others, especially with the younger members of our neighborhoods.
“We give and receive some great books that really encourage my kids to love reading. Kids are going to pick a TV show every single time until someone sits down and makes reading fun for them. All you need is some funny voices and time. With a library like ours, a kid can easily find a book to take home and enjoy by themselves or with Mom and Dad to make a great memory. In fact, we all could use a change of pace, a slowdown, and a good book that offers us a valuable space to just be. I think every person in the community could use that right now.”
The Little Free Library offers many special moments to the Daniels family, and moments they hope are passed along to neighbors and their families in the coming months.
“Growing up, reading was difficult for me. I struggled with it for years. I would love to see my kids continue to love reading and for someone every now and then to pick up a book that feels important to them. Maybe it’ll be special to some people the way it is for us. Books are for everyone and it’s never too late to fall in love with reading.”
To find a location in your area, google “Little Free Library” for your city.