Take a book, leave a book

Little Free Library Ribbon Cutting, October 27, 2014    W. Church Street, Sandersville, Georgia
Little Free Library Ribbon Cutting, 511 West Church Street, Sandersville, Georgia

About two years ago my friends the Digh/Ptak family built a Little Free Library and placed it in front of their home in Asheville. A Little Free Library (LFL) is simply a place where books are made available for anyone to take a book to read or leave a book for someone else to read. You don’t even have to ask if it is ok to leave a book, you just put it in the library!

A LFL can be sponsored by a family like mine, a business, church, civic group, Scout troop, or a group of friends and neighbors. Most are located outside in a water-resistant box/container where there are lots of people throughout the day. Occasionally they are located inside a business too.

The cost is minimal. Registering a Little Free Library and getting your official Little Free Library sign requires a one-time cost of $35. They’ll send you some helpful information to spread the word about your LFL, and once you have yours ready, you can make it official and be placed on the LFL map and list of locations.  My LFL is number 16,856, so there were 16,855 Little Free Libraries before me! LFL is non-profit organization and can be found at littlefreelibrary.org 

So why is my LFL made out of an old newspaper box?  Unfortunately  I was not able to convince my husband to build one for me because he seems to be busy helping me with other things on a list that never ends. Last summer when a bike tour of Little Free Libraries in the Mercer area in Macon was announced, my determination to have at least one LFL in Washington County took off again.

After searching the web I found some old newspaper boxes repurposed into libraries. No building required! The Sandersville Progress didn’t have any boxes to offer, but after several phone calls I was able to get some from the Augusta Chronicle.

Little Free Library, Washington County, GA
Little Free Library, Washington County, GA

Once I got the boxes back to Sandersville, the real work began to make Little Free Libraries a community project. Washington County Machine Shop made some repairs so the boxes would be more weather resistant. Once I retrieved the shored up boxes, I got local businesses to help make Washington County’s first LFL happen.

ACE Hardware supplied me with paint, Brooker Business Products contributed a custom stamp for library books that reads “Little Free Library Washington, GA.” Katlyn Norwood painted to lettering on the box, and Smith Farm Supply donated a fence pole for me to secure the box in my front yard.

Charles Lee was willing to bend the rules for Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cuttings since this is the first official Little Free Library in our county. Bob West and his crew were kind enough to get my front yard “ribbon cutting” ready. Neil Pittman at the Country Buffet and Judy Page contributed food for everyone who attended the ribbon cutting.

On Monday, October 27 community leaders, friends, and neighbors gathered to celebrate Washington County’s first Little Free Library at my house on West Church Street. The books inside Washington County’s first LFL were donated by Jeanne Roughton, Susan Garrett, and my friend in the Monticello area Susan Joris. They range from classics like To Kill a Mockingbird and early reader books for young children, to adult murder-mysteries.

In the next few weeks Little Free Libraries will be popping up all over Washington County. The Beauty Junction on South Harris Street has put one out with children’s books. Washington EMC employees had a design contest for the one they will put on the front porch of their office in Sandersville. The Pendry family will have one on West Church St near the city cemetery soon. The Progress has found a newspaper box this fall to contribute and that one will be decorated and placed in front of Susan Lewis’ office on the Square. The fellows at ACE Hardware plan to build one and place it at their store, and Clayton Sheppard is going to try and make space inside JP’s Kwick Shop for a LFL that Warthen residents want to sponsor.

I am really appreciative of the help and support local businesses and friends have given to bringing Little Free Libraries to Washington County. I have one newspaper box left that I will give to someone who wants to decorate, register, and sponsor a Little Free Library in our county. If you want to get your name in the hat email me with your contact information, who will sponsor the LFL (your family, a Sunday School class, etc), and where you will place it. The other Washington County Little Free Library “librarians” will select a winner.

The deadline for your nomination is Friday, November 21. The winner will be chosen and announced in early December. Email me at [email protected] with your nomination.


4 thoughts on “Take a book, leave a book”

  1. I have 2 newspaper boxes that I’m going to turn into LFLs. Your post mentioned making the box more waterproof; what did you have done to it? Did you leave the spring mechanism in it? Thank you!

    1. Some of the boxes I got were a little worse for the wear, so I got a local machine shop to close up some small holes in them. I didn’t do anything to the latching mechanisms. I haven’t had any problems with mine and it has gotten a good amount of rain and wind since I put it out. Good luck!

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