If you’ve never heard of the Little Free Library here’s the 30,000-foot overview.
Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.
Through Little Free Libraries, millions of books are exchanged each year, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.
This concept appeals to a couple of my interests, reading and design. Ever since I read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory during my 5th grade Christmas break I’ve enjoyed reading. I’m such a fan of design that owning a Frank Lloyd Wright home is one of my bucket list items, it’s right after “Win the lottery”.
This past week my travels had me heading up the east coast of Georgia early in the week and ending up in Chattanooga, TN on Thursday. Seven days of interstate and back road driving.
In recent years my wife has moved from the classroom into an administrative support position. This has left the garage filled with classroom supplies, or as I like to call it “Teacher Totes”. One of her summer goals was to downsize these “Teacher Totes” and make room in the garage for more “Man Gear”, aka my stuff. This is where the Little Free Library comes in. Their website offers a map indicating the addresses of the LFL’s, and a dozen or so lined up with my travel plans.
We left last Sunday, with about 150 children’s chapter books in the trunk and visions of Johnny Appleseed in our head. Except instead of dispersing apple trees, we’d be leaving books.
Our first stop was Jacksonville, FL and even with the address loaded in Waze, it became a bit of a treasure hunt looking for the actual library. Once located you would’ve thought we’d found the Sorcerer’s Stone. As our journey continued it was amazing to not only see the design of each library but that each location seemed to hold a story.
We came across a library in Savannah, GA and were immediately greeted by a Standard Poodle that became our new best friend. Each library has a steward and this locations steward happened to be there at the same time and said, “our stop made her day”.
While in Savannah, we found a library that was the part of the Occugarden project. The Occugarden is a community movement whose mission is to promote organic gardening, nutrition, and cooking in Savannah.
In Dalton, GA we found a library at the Wrens Nest. The Wrens Nest is this wonderfully relaxing yoga studio surrounded by colorful gardens. The garden’s centerpiece is a sculpture made from a lime green 1990 Volvo. The Volvo is filled with medicinal plants that is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Martin “Marty” Michaels.
While in town we also came across another library that was inside the library of the Dalton State College.
In Chattanooga, TN the library at Ascension Lutheran Church had a Little Free Food Pantry located next to it. Perfect for those in need of some food.
Our final stop was also in Chattanooga, TN. This library was located in the front yard of a former public library director and had been painted like a page from a Dr. Seuss book.
By the end of the week, we had dropped off all our books and hopefully fueled the joy and adventure of reading in someone else. It was interesting to see how each library’s design differed. Some resembled the location that it sat in front of, while others mimicked nothing in the surrounding area.
Here’s a Google map of the twelve hundred mile journey and each marker has additional pictures from the stop.
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