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I’m a hopeless book collector. I try to resist temptation. Years ago, my husband considered purchasing books a frivolous waste of money since there was a library stacked to the ceiling with books just down the street. He had a point. I tried to not buy books. But as the years added up, my will power diminished. My mother undid my good library habit by gifting me a membership to the Book of the Month Club. I would agonize over selecting just one title per month from the alluring book synopses.

In 1990, I moved into a spacious new home. My book collection grew. Eight years ago, in preparation for downsizing, I set about the painful process of paring down my book collection. I sold many books through Amazon.com. What I couldn’t sell, I donated to the local library. Even so, friends who helped me move, cursed my boxes upon boxes of heavy books as they lugged them upstairs to my office. The memory of their groans jiggles remorse when I see my bookcases, whose neat order has been, once again, buried behind new stacks of unfiled books squeezed into every available inch of space.

Enter Little Free Library (LFL)! The take a book, leave a book concept has been around for a while at inns, hostels, and other public places. But the idea of a random community book exchange is fairly new to me. Poking around the web I see that LFLs are sprouting across the country like California Poppy seeds sprout beside the road. The best news of all is that my own little neighborhood has a brand new LFL, which I visited this morning for the first time. To my delight, I found two books that are actually on my “to read” list. I hurried back home to my bookshelf, grabbed three books and returned to the LFL for an exchange.

What I left:
Happiness: A guide to developing life’s most important skill by Matthieu Ricard
Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons: The story of Phillis Wheatley by Ann Rinaldi
Then Came Evening: A novel by Brian Hart
What I brought home:
Where Rivers Change Direction by Mark Spragg
Volt by local author, Alan Heathcock
The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Of course, my local Library! (Yes, that’s how the sign on the building reads) is less than two miles away. The LFL will not replace the local library. There is no competition here. But LFL fulfills some wonderful needs:

  • Promote community
  • Promote literacy
  • Get to know your neighbors
  • Reuse
  • Refresh your bookcase shelves

My local Little Free Library boasts an impressive collection of children’s books, practical how-to guides, new fiction and classic literature. Is there a Little Free Library in your neck of the woods? Have you ever visited it? Want to start your own? If so, find lots of helpful hints on the LFL website.

Little Free Libraries in the Boise area:

  • 2805 Old Stone Way, Meridian, ID  83646
  • 8497 Goddard Rd, Boise, ID  83704
  • 2915 N 32nd St, Boise, ID  83703
  • 4426 Yorgason Way, Boise, ID  83703
  • 5521 Warm Springs, Boise, ID  83716
  • 1423 Grove, Boise, ID  83702
  • 2210 Manitou, Boise, ID  83706