Give A Book, Take A Book: The Joy of a Neighborhood Small Library

By Dr. Helen Foster James

fun ideas for kids little free libraryOn my neighborhood strolls through my city, I’ve noticed little libraries are popping up everywhere. Some are “official” Little Free Library ( versions while others are just good neighbors with a zeal for books and a box or an extra bookshelf to spare.

It’s all about give and take. The premise is neighbors will give a book they are finished reading to the “library” and in return, they will take a book that looks of interest to them to read. In our local mountains, for example, the small store sets aside a few shelves for leave-one-take-one for campers and local residents. This is especially welcome here since it’s miles and miles to the next bookstore.

If you are considering making your own library, visit to be inspired. The website features a story of how their idea started in 2009, a video describing how the library system works, and a map and listing to indicate where their libraries are located.

When Little Free Library started they hoped to have 2,509 Little Libraries, the same number of libraries Andrew Carnegie built. Now, they have more than 15,000 little libraries with thousands more being built.

Be a part of the fun! The next time you see a neighborhood small library, share a book to show your child that sharing books is important. Or, even better, consider placing a give and take library on your front yard. If that’s not possible, join forces with a few neighbors to find the perfect place in your community for a trading library.

If you need more inspiration, check out “little free libraries” on Pinterest for a wide variety of ideas and inspiration. It will be just the motivation to create your family’s own version of a sharing library.

We show children what’s important to us by what we do. Making the bold step of creating a give and take library sends an enormous statement to your child that books and reading matter to you. Your little library might contain just children’s books or a combination of books for adults and children. Either way, your actions tell your child reading matters.


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