As I was strolling on a walk in a Colorado neighborhood, I came across a decorative wooden cabinet on a neighborhood street corner. It was painted colorfully and speckled with unique trinkets, and the sign above it read “Book and Idea Exchange.”

I had never before seen one of these. My curiosity led me to investigating it further and I opened the cabinet to see what was inside. It was filled with a variety of pamphlets, pages, and books that residents in the area had placed inside. I later learned that the idea behind these cabinets is that they offer locals their own free miniaturized library. You can take a book that others have left and donate one of your own so that you essentially have a miniature free neighborhood library.

After looking into it further I found that you can create and register your own free library through a website called “Little Free Library” at https://littlefreelibrary.org/. Check out their website if you want to discover if one of these libraries have been registered in your area. If there are none, you could always start your own – either registered online for anyone to find or unregistered for your own city block, apartment building, or neighborhood to utilize. Use your creativity and inspiration to design and decorate your own miniature library cabinet to put on display. It’s a great way to make new reading material available to others and to find new and interesting books without having to make a trip to the library. The variety of books that people provide also gives you a general sense of the what subjects and interests your neighbors enjoy.

Before proceeding with creating a new library respect the rights of your neighbors, your landlord, and city zoning laws. Always get permission first before spending the time it takes to put one of these together. The Little Free Library website has some excellent tips and information for beginners.

Miniature free libraries are a simple and creative way to add something unique to your neighborhood!