If Free our Kids made libraries…

They would probably look like this:


Actually, we do, and it does. As of Saturday, we have a little box attached to our front garden wall, with a perspex window and a clasp to one side, so passing strangers can stop, open it, browse the books inside and take them home for free if they fancy.

My father in law built it, after we were inspired by the Little Free Library movement. They were swamped by requests for libraries, so we decided to make our own.

We have so many books in this house. Lots, we’re over-sentimentally attached to and couldn’t part with. But others, especially kids books, we should really declutter. And we thought, too, that it would be kind of nice to teach Johnny that there’s a thrill attached to passing nice things on, as well as receiving mountains of lurid, superhero branded plastic.


So we did. We put the library up in the morning, chose some books that J doesn’t read anymore, dropped them into the library and then waited for our first customers. I’ll admit I had my doubts. On the urban thoroughfare on which we live, I could see it being used as a deposit box for fried chicken boxes and beer cans, or worse: a public urinal.

It didn’t take long to find out. Within two hours, our supply of books was gone and there were, as yet, no take-aways or tins. But the best was still to come.

On the front of our library, we’d invited people to take a book for free, but also to replace the stock with their own unwanted books if possible. And the next day,  a mystery pile of books appeared inside. Those were gone by the end of Sunday but on Monday, a new pile arrived. It’s been going on like that for a few days.

We don’t know who are mystery users are, and neither do we know our undercover donors. But there’s something really exciting about people giving anonymously like that, without any personal glory or recognition. Plus, four days in and all our donations have been of the literary rather than litter-y kind.

AND, my kids now watch the window for potential customers instead of the TV. So, everyone is winning.

Oh and, yes, the library is a former wine box. Champagne socialist, moi?