Lutie Had a Great Idea: Little Free Libraries

"Books in a Box: Lutie Stearns and the Traveling Libraries of Wisconsin"

Lutie Stearns was a librarian who believed that books have the power to change readers' lives. She fueled this belief by taking books to nearly 1,400 locations in Wisconsin through traveling little libraries between 1895 and 1914. Her cause was picked up in 2009 by a young Wisconsonite who built a small replica of a one-room schoolhouse. He mounted it on a pole, filled it with books and planted it in his front yard. This he did in honor of his retired schoolteacher mother who loved books.

This little library sported a "Free Books" sign. People liked it, so he built more and gave them away to encourage additional little libraries to sprout –and more did! By 2010, there were almost 400 "Little Free Libraries" worldwide. The time had come to make the movement official. In 2012, Little Free Library became an official non-profit organization.

That's where I come in.

I recently learned of the movement and knew immediately that I wanted to establish my own "Take a Book, Leave a Book" box at my home. The mission of the Little Free Library is primarily to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide. Promoting reading is very important to me because I, too, am a retired teacher. And now as a Children's Guide for Anythink Libraries, where a shared value is "Anything is possible," I all the more feel an impetus to make this little library possible. I'm excited – really excited – to get started on this project! 

So, what happens now?

If all goes as planned during the next few months, a Little Free Library will be built and planted along the street in my front yard in Strasburg, Colorado. The official ribbon cutting will be celebrated the last weekend in June and the book exchanges will begin. Books will be taken while others will appear in their place. This box of books will offer the opportunity for readers to stop by, take a book and maybe, eventually, bring back another to share.

And so I invite you to follow my progress on my journey to the realization of a Little Free Library at my home. Who knows? Maybe you, too, will think that Lutie had a great idea and become a steward of your own Little Free Library.

The journey begins!