This past summer, I spent too much time browsing the boards on Pinterest, and subsequently developed an infatuation for Little Free Libraries. The brainchild of a man in Wisconsin who built the first one as a tribute to his late mother (a librarian), the concept has been spreading like wildfire. By July, there were enough local LFLs to merit a write-up in the Seattle Times. At the time of that article, no LFLs were recorded in Wallingford. I wanted to do something about that.
I checked out the Little Free Library website, and even went so far as to scavenge some leftover pieces of Trex from a neighbor’s deck project. I planned to magically (and quickly) assemble these into a waterproof little library for my front yard. From there, I would infuse the neighborhood with dog-eared copies of the classics, left-leaning political treatises and urban farming must-haves. Oh, what one English major, armed with power tools and a surplus of books, would accomplish!
This English major is, however, married to a more pragmatic engineering-type who insists on things like, “not sinking a post where it might kill our tree or damage the plumbing” and (get this) working from “an actual set of plans.” And while plans are available on the Little Free Library website, they don’t include any information on making modifications to accommodate scavenged Trex. And so, my pile of Trex remains heaped by the side of the house waiting optimistically for next summer. I just need to bribe said engineer-spouse into moving the LFL to the top of his priority list!
Luckily for the neighborhood, someone further down Bagley Avenue North has erected a Little Free Library of their own! My heart skipped a beat when I drove past it a couple of weeks ago. I returned to it with my young children last week to admire its fine construction (solidly built, and not disrupting any tree roots, gas lines or pipes). It contains a fine smorgasbord of recipe books, martial arts books, travel books and political/economic books. Now my political manifestos and great works of literature can begin a new life without having to wait for summer!
I also discovered that upper Wallingford has its own LFL, thanks to this handy Little Free Library Index. It’s caretaker, Diane, told me that hers was in place in time for National Night Out in August. Diane’s LFL was created by her brother as a way for them to remember their mother, Phyllis, who passed away in June. Their LFL contains children’s books which Diane purchases at Goodwill. She lets the neighborhood children know that they don’t have to put a book into the library unless they want to – they can just take books as they need them. In nicer weather, Diane sets out chairs by her LFL so that readers can sit and enjoy their new books. She has recruited two neighborhood children to tend the library when she is away so that it is never empty. She says that it’s been an “absolute pleasure” having the LFL in place.
Knowing how many of my neighbors love books, libraries and free stuff, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more LFLs within our borders, or at least a few in the works. Leave a comment here if you know of one. Seems like a great theme for an official ”Wallingford Walk” as well!
You can find Wallingford’s little free libraries on Bagley Ave. N between 36th and 37th, on N. 47th St between Wallingford and Burke, at 5738 Ashworth N, at 3634 Woodlawn Ave N, and at at 1831 North 57th St.