Where Can We Get Books?
By stocking your Little Library with interesting, high quality and popular books you can keep patrons looking forward to new titles and bringing their own books to share. If you seem to run out, ask your users for help. Put a sign or note up when you need more books.
First Choice--From your own collections, neighbors and people who use your Little Library.
Work With Your Public Library
Our overall purpose is to support community libraries of all kinds. In fact, this entire program has been designed with Friends of Public Libraries in mind. Little Libraries offer creative and upbeat outreach tools to extend the reach of your public library to parts of your community that might not otherwise use it. Each Little Library is like its own billboard, attracting attention from walkers, bikers and drivers who pass by.
Build Little Libraries into your public library’s outreach with activities ranging from treasure hunts, geo caching, games and contests. Connect with children and adults, encouraging them to visit your central location and branches. Use your Little Library as a tool to build support and participation, collect good books and share them.
Check this out for fun and easy ways to collect books. We don't think you will need to conduct book drives if you have an active Little Library. But if you do, here are some tips from BookEnds.
Can we run a used book drive to collect books for our Little Library?
Yes, but we suggest that you run the book drive through your Friends of the Library or other volunteer groups to raise funds rather than collect old books. Many of the books from book drives would not be appropriate for Little Libraries but should not just be sent to the landfill. For that reason, we urge you to work with Better World Books (BWB). They have well recognized methods to collect, ship, sort, sell, recycle and distribute used books while helping you raise money.
Through BWB, the founders of Little Free Library have helped send thousands of high quality books to Africa, Asia and Latin America. Your library or volunteer group can earn money by sorting and shipping books to BWB. If you do collect used books, ask for specific titles in good condition only. Have the donors write personal notes on each bookplate so they can become more personally involved.
What kinds of books should we get?
Room to Read has put together an excellent list of 150 children’s books to select from if you want to create a Little Library for children. We also encourage you to use resources like the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Teaching Books
Ask for people's favorite books
For a wonderful education project ask the people what books they recommend and why…then ask if they might donate them. No matter what topic you choose for your Little Library, it’s a good idea to ask the people who might use it to recommend the books they favor. Such a process builds personal commitment and support. It also familiarizes lots of people with good books!
From A to Z:
Themes and Variations
for Your Little Free Library
Imagine what you could do. We have asked friends to tell us what kinds of books and building styles they might want to create. One of the best ideas we've heard so far is to pick a letter of the alphabet and fill your Library with books thatare written by authors whose names begin with that letter...or books about topics that begin with that letter. Or titles.
Your Little Free Library could be full of books by Lois Lenski or Louis Lamour, for example. Books about Love and Loss. A children's book called Louis the Lop.
And those are just ideas for the letter L! Wouldn't it be great to have 26 Libraries close enough together that someone could cover the entire alphabet in one walk?
Some other possibilities:
On the Wisdom Walk
“What’s in the library today?” people might ask as they stroll through their neighborhood. Maybe one library has mystery stories, one has picture books for kids and another has memoirs. Down the block, an English teacher shares her favorite novels and a historian puts out a new book every month about “the old country” and her Norwegian heritage. Some fifth grade girls exchange American Girl stories about girls growing up at different times in history. A wooden bench shows up next to the Little Library in front of Mrs. Argelander’s bungalow. The nightly walkers, children and elders alike, sit and read to each other.
Get them thinking about their favorite books—not just the ones they haven’t read in 20 or 30 years, but the ones they treasure. You might even challenge people you know to create individual books to give away, or donate the stories they loved when they were children. Picture books with fewer words are almost always a good start for slow readers…as long as they are well written and designed. As the Little Free Library Movement grows, we will produce lists of recommended books and reading materials. Check our website frequently. Here are some other suggestions:
Reading by Nature: By the Path to the Community Garden
This collection could contain “how to” books, novels that feature gardens, essays and volumes like Grace from the Garden and even seed or gardening equipment catalogs. Be sure to include things like the Got Dirt? Toolkit for School and Community Gardens (available online)
Here's what you can do: Members of an urban gardening club want to share their favorite books and horticulture tips. They get together and “seed” their Little Library with gardening catalogs but also their favorite poetry about vegetables and flowers. Then they decide to share any and all books with the word garden in the title.
They have so many books that they endow a vegetable garden library, a rose garden branch and a specially designed children’s library for the new day care garden down the street. And they donate the extra books to the Friends of the Library.
You Can Do This!
The Dr. is In for Kids: Dr. Seuss!
Why not donate an entire collection of Dr. Seuss books? The supply is likely to be so good from your own and your children’s collections that you may not have to purchase any!
La Maison de Memoire
Make it fun to learn French. A perfect class project! Fill this library with children’s books, stories about French-speaking countries, and easy learning materials in English and French.
La Casa de Libros
How about books on Mexican food and culture? The story of Tin Tin, photonovelas and other reading materials to promote learning in Espanol? A high school Spanish class could be asked to select what they think would be most appealing to others who want to know more about Spanish-speaking countries.
A Celebration of Community and Culture
Books about friendship, village and neighborhood life, our common interests and strategies for enhancing our quality of life can offer practical steps as well as great literature. Neighborhood libraries can include novels, short stories, photographs and scrapbooks—anything that reminds us of the value of knowing each other.
A Mystery Shelf: What Will Be Next?
Sherlock was right: solving a crime or conundrum can keep us fascinated for hours and hours. And there are plenty of paperbacks or hard cover books to go around after you have wrapped up each case. But what author and what mystery will be next? A Little Library mystery collection could change every week and you would never be finished!
House of Health and Wellness
What if you could find the perfect movement and fitness program for you at all stages of your life? With photos and books containing expert advice, a Little Library can show you how to stay healthy—eat well, train well, and play well. Note: With Wisconsin Literacy, we're now in the hunt for sponsors for easy-to-read family health books.
History in a Box
Girls have loved American Girl books because they could learn about life hundreds of years ago. Tales of explorers and Presidents can be as fascinating as everyday life in the Wild West or Revolutionary War Times, and well-written history can keep readers engaged for years.
Books Make Us Smile
How about an entire collection of cartoons and jokes, funny stories and pictures? People might come from far and wide just to cheer themselves up! But make sure the funny business is appropriate for people of all ages…then laugh each time you see somebody run off with your best stuff, and hope they return with something even funnier.
We're Cookin' Now
Savor this: an entire Library full of books about food! Foreign food, nutritional information, stories about gourmets...and cookbooks of every kind you can imagine. Journalism about the food system and solutions to the world hunger crisis.
Get the idea? Want to have a library about cats? Dogs? Birds? Science? The environment? Your choices are endless. Each library can feature its own special topic. Just remember, the goal is to promote friendship, provide education and make it easy for everyone to find good books to read.
Read Around the World
Wouldn’t it be fun to have a collection about children in neighborhoods, cities and villages around the world?
What do you think about sending your favorite books on a trip and knowing where they go?
Here's what we think for starters--take a look at Book Crossing. Catch and release!