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.

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