How to Start a Free Little Library in Your Community

In 2009, Todd H. Boll built the world’s firstLittle Free Library. These community-oriented libraries are set up in neighbourhoods around the world where people in the community are encouraged to take-a-book and leave-a-book. In the ten years since Little Free Library’s inception, more than 90,000 have been placed across the globe. With national Read A Book Day coming up on September 6, there is no better time to set up your neighbourhood with its very own Little Free Library, and here’s how you do it:

  • Check out this world map to see if your neighbourhood already has one that you just haven’t come across yet.
  • Identify a location and make sure that it is legal and safe to install the library. You want to choose a location with lots of foot traffic so your neighbours won’t miss it. You’ll need to designate at least one steward that will maintain, promote and ensure that the library is inviting to all.
  • Next, you have to build the library. You have a few options for this; you can build your own, hire someone local to build it for you or purchase one through Little Free Library’s catalogue.
  • Step three will be to register your library. Once registered, you’ll be able to access a bunch of support, benefits and a network of like-minded people. You will also get an official charter sign engraved with a unique charter number. After registering, you will be able to find your own library on their world map.
  • Step four: “get your community involved! Contact the local paper, radio and TV stations; send out a press release; tell your friends, family and neighbours in-person; use social media; do whatever you can to engage your community with the library and be sure to follow Little Free Library’s blog for insider tips and resources. The more people who know about your library and support it, the better.”
  • Last but not least, it’s time to add your library to the world map and have a grand opening. Invite neighbours, family and friends to the opening so that everyone will know about your new endeavour. Bring some snacks, have a ribbon cutting, pose for pictures, do it all with the new library. If you can think it, you can do it!

If this sounds like something your neighbourhood could use, it’s time to head over to the Little Free Library’s website and sign up. They have a number of resources that can help you get started on your journey to having your very own community library. Last but definitely not least, don’t forget about Read A Book Day on September 6. It’s a great excuse to head over to the local bookstore and find a new read to curl up with and enjoy in the sun with a nice cup of coffee.


Happy reading, Calgary!