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Little Free Library: Stock your local ones with your book purges #summer #BookDonations #SpringCleaning #OutdoorActivities #KidActivities

Stock Your Local Little Free Library With Your Next Book Purge

By Wendy Copley

When my kids are home in the summertime, I like to spend a little time with them every day — or more realistically once per week — cleaning and refreshing their shared room. I don’t know how your kids feel about cleaning, but mine are not exactly excited about it. This week I stumbled across an activity that helped make some of that work a little more fun: delivering some of their outgrown books to the Little Free Libraries in our neighborhood.

This activity checks all the boxes:  time spent together, giving to others, exercise, and no screens! And when we were finished, they had a pile of books they’d forgotten about to dig into!

Wagon filled with books

We started by gathering up all the books that were scattered in piles around their room and around the house. Then we went through them together to identify which were keepers and which they were ready to pass on. The keeper pile had far more books than would fit on their shelves so we took a few minutes to pull some more outgrown books off their bookcases and added them to the giveaway pile too.

stack of old books

In case you are worried that my kids no longer have any books to read after seeing the pile in that wagon, HAVE NO FEAR! The photo above shows all the books that we needed to reshelve. Yikes!

Kid pulling a wagon filled with old books to donate

Once the wagon was full, we set out to deliver them to the Little Free Libraries in our neighborhood.

If you are unfamiliar with Little Free Libraries (or “LFL’s”), let me start by telling you that they are terrific! They are small house-shaped boxes that individuals or businesses build and put where they are easily accessible to neighborhood foot traffic. The owner of the LFL usually starts it off by stocking it with a selection of books they are ready to pass along. The libraries have a “take a book, leave a book” philosophy. If you decide you’d like to read one of the books on offer you are free to take it home with you and you are encouraged to either leave a different book in its place or bring it back when you are finished so others can enjoy it too.

adding books to Little Free Library

We are lucky that Little Free Libraries are a bit of a fad in our area, so we had lots of places to drop off our books. My son and I pulled our wagon around our neighborhood for about 45 minutes and put our books in five different libraries — including one we didn’t know about until we walked by it.  If you would like to find a LFL in your area, you can look on the official map to find spots that have been registered with the organization. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for them as you’re going for an evening walk or running errands — when I looked up my neighborhood I saw that only two of the ten or so libraries I’m aware of were registered with the site!

This walk was the best part of our activity. As we filled the empty spaces in one of the libraries my son told me he felt like a “book fairy” and we had fun imagining how happy other kids would be when they opened the doors of each little building to find so many new books.

More Ideas for Summer Activities:


About the Author

Wendy Copley

Wendy Copley is a cook, writer, crafter, lunch-packer, wife and mom. Whenever she goes too long without doing something creative, she starts to lose her mind, so she’s always working on some ...

Wendy Copley is a cook, writer, crafter, lunch-packer, wife and mom. Whenever she goes too long without doing something creative, she starts to lose her mind, so she’s always working on some sort of project. Her focus frequently shifts from sewing to baking to paper-crafting to creating with her kids but she is unwavering in her devotion to packing cute, mostly-healthy bento box lunches for her two boys.

You can follow her adventures on her blog Wendolonia or you can learn all her lunch box secrets from her book, Everyday Bento: 50 Cute and Yummy Lunches to Go.

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