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Little library

On my way home the other day I saw a Little Free Library in the flesh. So cute! Has anyone else seen, used, or implemented one?


Elissa Gershowitz About Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College and a BA from Oberlin College.



  1. have seen a few in NYC (one on east 4th street, one on prince street) but they keep getting filled with random detritus: sadness! (i did see a bunch of hardcover Harry Potters recently in the e 4th street one, at least.)

    on the other hand there was one clearly getting good use as an actual library a couple of years ago in a playground across from a public school in bayside, a milwaukee suburb where my mother-in-law lives. bayside is one village over from whitefish bay, which stupidly BANNED little free libraries and got mocked nationwide. (

  2. Megan Dowd Lambert says:

    I set up a Little Free Library in front of my house as a birthday present to myself last year, and I think there are three others in Amherst, MA. Lots of people take walks in my neighborhood, so it gets a lot of traffic. I learned to only stock it with books I have extra copies of–or those I wouldn’t mind losing for good (books often don’t get returned) and children’s books are definitely the most popular. Extra copies of The Horn Book and Kirkus land there, as well as bound arcs from reviewing assignments. It’s also been fun to see what gets left there by others, and I have a little notebook and pencils for people to leave notes and requests. I pull out books that aren’t circulating to donate every few months so I can make room for new titles.

    This year my kids and I added a “Take a Treasure” box to our front yard, and we put little toys and odds and ends in it for kids to take in addition to books from the Little Free Library.I got that idea from a neighbor who has a similar set-up in her yard, along with a wishing well and spectacular gardens. I, alas, do not have a green thumb so I can’t make that happen.

  3. We have one in our yard, in Omaha, Nebraska. It was set up as one of two in our neighborhood by two high school students as a service project. We have only had it a few months and noticed it was getting used quite a bit in the summer and fall. With cold temps and snow, there is not much foot traffic by our house, but I expect it will pick up in the spring. It’s easy for us to keep it stocked with books for adults and children because we have a used bookstore.

  4. Elissa Gershowitz Elissa Gershowitz says:

    Yes! The one in my neighborhood is covered in snow. Makes it all the more homey (if a little harder to get to… 🙂

  5. Katie Bircher Katie Bircher says:

    Reader Heidi Hauser Green sent us some pics of the Little Library she set up with neighborhood kids — decorated with Horn Book collage! I spy Catherynne M. Valente’s The Boy Who Lost Fairyland… Which favorite titles do you see?

    Photo credit for both images: Heidi Hauser Green.

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