By Michele Stevens Bernard, TSB Lifestyle Editor
When Zoe Woolery’s birthday loomed on the horizon, her son Justin knew exactly what he wanted to do for her. With the help of his wife, Nikki, Justin built his mother a library. Then he placed it in the front yard of her house. And it fit.
To the casual observer, what might look like a decorative mailbox, a funky piece of yard art, or a really cool birdhouse, is in fact, Woolery’s own Little Free Library.
With her Little Free Library now opened for all who walk past her house, Woolery joins thousands of bibliophiles worldwide who sport Little Free Libraries for friends and neighbors to enjoy. With a history that dates back to 2009, when Midwesterners Tod Bol and Rick Brooks built the first Little Free Library, this grassroots movement has grown to boast more than 2,500 libraries around the globe.
According to their mission statement found at LittleFreeLibrary.org, the intent of the Little Free Library movement is to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide. Their mission is also to build a sense of community, and of course, little free libraries.
“I saw something about these libraries on the news,” says Woolery. “And I told Justin about it. He and Nikki built it for me, and installed it themselves.”
“I’m planning to stock my library with a variety of books including some for children,” says Woolery. “Anyone is free to take or leave as many books as they like so long as they fit inside.”
Located at 411 W. Virginia St. in McKinney, just west of the downtown square, Woolery has already noticed the impact her Little Free Library has made in the neighborhood. In the short time it has been in place, she has seen lots of activity, from drivers slowing down to take a look to walkers stopping in to peruse her book collection.
“People are taking books, and bringing books to share,” says Woolery. “Someone even just dropped off some children’s books to share.”
The Little Free Library concept is simple. Basically, all one needs to do is buy, build or repurpose a waterproof structure, fill it with books, then invite others to take a book or leave a book. If this seems intimidating, look no further than the Little Free Library website for building plans and ideas. Ready-made libraries are also available for purchase.
In addition to books, Woolery also placed a notepad and pen for people to leave comments. “People are saying that they can’t wait to come back again, or telling me how much they enjoyed a particular book. One note talked about how my library made their day.”
With such a postive response from her neighbors, it is apparent to Woolery that her birthday gift is in fact a gift for all to enjoy.
To learn more about the Little Free Library movement click here.