It is official. I am now the steward of Little Free Library #19705. The library is located beside our driveway and has been a work in progress for a long time.
I first read about the Little Free Libraries in 2010. This is an organization started by Todd Bol of Hudson, WI, in 2009 to honor his mother. She had been a school teacher who loved to read. His concept was simple. He built a covered box, filled it with books and left it at the end of his driveway. People were encouraged to take a book and leave a book.
Eventually he was joined by others who helped with getting the word out and building the libraries. One of the missions of the organization was to get 2510 libraries registered...the same number that Andrew Carneige founded. That goal was reached ahead of schedule.
The first official Little Free Library - using the new name of the organization was situated in Madison, WI. along a bike path in 2010.
All the information and maybe the incentive for you to have one can be found on their web site littlefreelibrary.org or the facebook page www.facebook.com/littlefreelibrary
For years I have been mentioning how neat an idea I thought it was and wouldn't it be fun to have one. Since we had never seen one, I think my husband was not so thrilled with the idea. Vandals would destroy it, people would steal books, there were a lot of excuses.
In June our daughter spotted one in Damariscotta Mills, Maine, while we were on vacation. "Look! There's a little library". Sure enough, at the end of the drive was a little red building filled with books. So the conversation took off from there. Again the reasons why it was not practical. Being a somewhat persistent person, I said, "You ask me all the time what I want for my birthday, our anniversary or Christmas and when I say nothing, you get upset. So I am telling you I want a Little Free Library." Death defying silence took over the car. Finally I was asked what kind of a library I wanted.
Now here comes the tricky part. I am a seamstress. I work with a sewing machine and thread on a daily basis. So I wanted my LFL to look like a spool of thread. Hey, I had waited this long for it, why not really stir up the pot.
And so the process began. And it required a
number of trips to the hardware store. My
husband finally decided that the round
tubes you use to pour footings was the
best thing to use for the shape. Then
there was the problem of waterproofing
the thing. By now we have a 16" diameter
x 22" high base for the library.
What would we use for the thread? Originally, I had thought of that big cotton rope that was used for boat anchors. Unfortunately, after a trip to the marine supply, cotton rope is a thing of the past. Now it is nylon or plastic. Neither of which would take the bright purple paint I wanted used. It had to match our shutters, doors and Adirondak chairs. Finally a light bulb went off and we used those foam pool noodles. When they were sliced in half, they did the trick.
After a couple of coats of paint, I had the deep royal purple I wanted. Now it was time for the spool ends. Hubby got busy at the table saw and router to get those whipped into shape.
Finally, my library was ready for its door and another challenge. The door had to swing up or swing down because of the shape. We finally decided on it opening down - hoping visitors remember to close it. The door has a window and a knob - also challenges in their own small way.
The last hurdle was where to put the library. We live on a narrow country lane, so beside the road was not an option. In front of the house meant people had to drive down the driveway and then worry about backing out. (Everyone complains about our driveway) So the LFL is situated on the side of the drive, off the road so one only has to pull into the top of the drive and get out of the car.
My sign has arrived. I am registered. The books will be loaded in as soon as it stops raining and I can get out there to do it. Am I excited? Yes I am. In fact I am thinking of having a grand opening. LFL encourages you to do that so your neighbors can become aware of it.
So I do have to say thank you to my wonderful husband of 48 years for a present I am really excited about.
And here is the finished LFL. The sign is in place. The stand has been painted. Don't you just love the thread hanging out of the top of the spool! It was worth the wait.