Little Free Library Meets Community Seed Exchange

Over a year ago, I stumbled across my first Little Free Library. It was just a glass-fronted box with a roof in somebody’s front yard, and it was full of books. A sign on the side read, “Take a book, return a book.” I thought it was just one person’s cool idea. Little did I know it’s a worldwide project. As soon as I searched the Internet, found the website, and saw the world map dotted with locations of tiny libraries, I wanted one to nestle into our (future) front yard garden.

I love books, and I love the idea of people in our neighborhood stopping in front of our house to pick a book out of the library, and perhaps return one of their own.

More recently, I’ve been toying with the idea of adding a curbside seed exchange to this vision. Kelly and I are committing ourselves this year to growing only open pollinated seeds and saving them in a more organized and intentional manner for future planting. Why not invite our neighbors to share our seeds and offer their own? Combining a library and seed exchange seems, somehow, very appropriate.

It was only this week that I made a trip to the thrift store with my dad, not really expecting to find the perfect library/seed exchange vessel, but hoping. And there it was: $5 and covered in dirt (I hope it was dirt, anyway!). The cabinet is a little bigger than I’d imagined, and I wobbled home with it protruding from my hatchback. Fortunately, some neighbors took pity on me and helped carry it to the garage.

This is going to be a library in my front yard, I told them. You should come back and check it out. I’m not totally sure they got it, but they smiled at me before retreating across the street.

Now for layers and layers of bright paint. I am trying to be patient, as I wait for paint to dry and ruefully inspect yet more accidental drips that will require yet more layers of paint. Egad.

Picture me at 10:00pm in clogs and Carhartts painting by the light of Kelly's headlamp and the dim overhead garage bulb. That's how crazy and excited I am.

Picture me at 10:00pm in clogs and Carhartts painting by the light of Kelly’s headlamp and the dim overhead garage bulb, and fretting over whether ‘Candy Apple Red’ and ‘Tropical Sky’ really go with ‘Mango Madness’. That’s how crazy and excited I am.

When the new little garden library is ready for its debut, Kelly insists we should distribute announcement flyers to neighbors and invite them to a grand opening reception. I feel slightly foolish, but I do secretly hope that at least some of them will be as delighted as we are by this addition to the neighborhood.

6 Responses to Little Free Library Meets Community Seed Exchange

  1. Can’t wait for it to open. I love the color scheme.

  2. What a fabulous idea and if your neighbours don’t get involved they’ll be missing a great opportunity. Ask those invited to contribute just one book each and you may be pleasantly surprised. Can’t wait to see the grand opening photos!

    • Thanks for your vote of confidence, Jackie. Always appreciated! Maybe there’s a little library in your neck of the woods? It’s exciting to see how they are cropping up all over the world.

      Sadly, the start of a new school term has kept me too busy to put the finishing touches on ours. It’s on my list for my next free weekend (that is, if the bees don’t start swarming!).

  3. Most of our supermarkets now run a small project whereby customers drop off unwanted books into a container and then borrow a new one for a small donation which then goes to a chosen charity. Nothing as smart as your swap box, just recycled cardboard ones!

    Swarming bees already!! We’ve had horrendous storms and flooding since Christmas so my ladies are sensibly tucked up in the warm and although I was hoping to move my hives to a more accessible area this month that job is having to wait.

    • I like the sound of your grocery store system! I just took another look at the world map on the Little Free Library website. It looks like there are quite a few around London, but not much throughout the rest of the UK. Perhaps you’ll have to be the trailblazer?

      No swarms yet! We usually get our first in late March, but who knows this year. The weather has been downright bizarre.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *