By Nancy Hahn
Is there anything better than Little Free Libraries? If you aren’t familiar with them, Little Free Libraries are usually wooden boxes of some sort on a post. They have a door that opens so that books can be put in and books can be taken out. They are often in front of a house with a reader, who reads a lot.
Little Free Libraries often say, “Take a book. Leave a book.” Readers with one in front of their house fill the library with books they have finished. They can look through the books that people have left and find something they haven’t read before. Free book to read right in your front yard!
The Little Free Library nonprofit began in 2009. If you build a library and pay to register it with them, you will be given a number plaque for your library and it will be shown on the maps on their site. There is, of course, an app now to search and guide the user to the registered Little Free Libraries in his or her area.
The reality, though, is that many Little Free Libraries aren’t registered. In fact, many aren’t even wooden boxes. Anything that has a door that opens can be a Little Free Library. Microwave ovens, old mailboxes, picnic baskets and coolers have been used as Little Free Libraries. Anything that can be attached to post or a fence has probably been used successfully as a Little Free Library. There are, also, many plans for building Little Free Libraries online.
In the Wheat Ridge area, there are approximately 20 Little Free Libraries. Most of them are not registered, but all are kept pretty busy. Kullerstrand Elementary on 38th Avenue has a nice big one that is quite busy during the school year. Right now it is very full. If there are elementary-aged children in your home you might want to check it out. There is one on Miller near Compass Montessori that would be a great stop for end-of-summer reading, also.
Every Little Free Library has a personality that has grown from its owner. Two owners who take the responsibility of a Little Free Library quite seriously are Chelsey Pas and Bryn Gelaro.
Chelsey gave her daughter, Bryn, her first Little Free Library for her eighth birthday. Actually, they built it together for her birthday. Their Little Free Library has a roof covered with moss, a tiny ceramic cat for a handle, and an upper and lower shelf. Because they live close to Wilmore Davis Elementary School, during the school year they keep the lower shelf stocked with small books just right for small hands to grab on the walk home to or from school. The top shelf is for paperbacks and other books for grown-ups. Without the school children walking past each day they have changed their selection for the summer. There are just a few books for youngsters, but they have added career and college information for the high-school graduates in the neighborhood.
The Mountain View City Hall and Police Station, at 4176 Benton St., is just a perfect spot for a family visit to a Little Free Library. There is a nice Little Free Library and there is nice little playground with a big shady tree, too. While the little ones play on the playground, mom and dad can relax at the picnic table with their new books. Once the little ones have enjoyed the playground, they can settle back and enjoy their new books, too.
Near 44th Avenue and Yarrow Street, there are some Little Free Libraries designed with children in mind. One is covered with images and phrases from Dr. Seuss. Another decorated with Maxfield Parish’s “Where the Wild Things Are.” If Little Free Libraries reflect their owners, there are some happy people in this part of Wheat Ridge. Nearby, there is a special friend of young readers. Ronetta Archuleta-Seldon makes lots and lots of colorful, cute, sticker-decorated bookmarks to tuck into the Little Free Libraries.
“I just want to make it a little more special,” Ronetta explains. Bookmarks make little ones feel like real readers. What a nice idea!
A little south of Louise Turner Park on Parfet is a cheerful Little Free Library with a bright roof of painted paint sticks. The assortment of books will interest any fantasy or science fiction lover. An occasional Stephen King has been added for fun.
Check out Little Free Libraries around your neighborhood and see if you can find one that mirrors your reading taste. Wouldn’t that be perfect for both the owner and for you? If you can’t find one that is just right, create one yourself.