My Backyard: Little Free Library

Jun 5, 2018

Summertime…am I right? 

So many more hours in the day to fill, so many more opportunities to…Read. All. Damn. Day. Hallelujah, I freaking love summer! 

Sure, there are people out there who enjoy doing other things, like maybe hiking or becoming enlightened through sunrise meditations and whatnot, but I am not one of those people. In the summer, I enjoy a good sleep-in, followed by several hours of reading. Unfortunately, I made a crazy-ass New Year’s Resolution this year to not buy any books. I know! I’m not sure what was going through my head, either. I think it had something to do with the 58 books already sitting, waiting to be read, by my bedside. That’s more than 1 book a week for a whole year to get me through, so I thought it would be easy to resist buying anything new. 

It hasn’t been easy. 

That is why I have taken one of my favorite year-round activities and laser-focused it for summer: searching for Little Free Libraries. 

Perhaps you’ve noticed them: small, often house-shaped boxes in front of someone’s home or business, usually with the words ‘Free’ and ‘Library’ painted on them. Some are painted to match the home they belong to, some are wildly bright and colorful, some are cardboard boxes…at least for a little while. Inside all of them are books of all genres, all free for the taking. I can’t say this has helped my whole ‘too many books’ issue, but hey.

Little Free Libraries are a worldwide book-based treasure hunt. By ‘treasure hunt’ I mean that books are the treasure, and while some of the ‘libraries’ are easy to find and are registered on the website with their actual addresses, others just have longitude and latitude clues, while others aren’t registered at all. These are the truly fun ones to find, and I’ve trained my eyes and those of my children to spot the abundant Little Free Libraries around Santa Rosa as we drive or bike around town. 

The spirit of these boxes chock-full of pure literary joy is to leave a book behind, or to take a book with you when you pass by, or both. Or neither, if you don’t have any reading material to share and nothing available catches your interest. Chances are if you visit again in a day or two the selection will have changed, so keep trying! I’ve gotten to the point where I look for them when traveling, too, and have found some really great ones out in the world. 

In my not at all obsessive quest, I decided to create a map of the LFL’s in Santa Rosa which I’m aware of, or have been told about. Some are very specific in their location, but some just say they’re near an intersection, or somewhere on a street. Think of this as an opportunity to slow down, look up, and notice your surroundings in this otherwise fast-paced, busy and rushed world we live in. You’re welcome, friends!

Do you know of a Little Free Library we should check out? Let me know in the comments – we’ve still got lots of summer left to fill. And, well, these things are open year-round, so keep the suggestions coming!

* A version of this post was originally published on the super-cool Out There Santa Rosa website – *



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