The Little Free Library network in Shafter (15 miles northwest of Bakersfield, CA) has blossomed to include 22 libraries scattered around town. These libraries are an intentional effort on the part of both public and private entities. These entities want to increase book access and literacy rates in their community. Read our previous blog about them here.
About a year ago, my family made the decision to place a Little Free Library in our front yard. As stewards, we fill our box with books and watch with joy as they leave in the hands of our neighbors.
We leave sidewalk chalk in our box and regularly find pictures and thank you notes from those who visit. These messages always brighten our day!
A few months after we installed our library one of our 3rd-grade neighbor boys ran to our house after realizing he was locked out of his. He had no way to get in and was very concerned.
He asked to use my cell phone to call his grandma. As he was talking to his grandma, I realized that she assumed he was at his next door neighbor’s house. Instead, he skipped the 6 houses closest to his and came to ours. Why, I wondered?
But as his conversation with his grandma progressed, he described our house as the one with the “little library box” in front. Then it hit me. He chose to come to our house because of our Little Free Library.
He saw our house as safe and welcoming because of the books we share. I quickly realized that our library was more than a way for us to share books.
Our Little Free Library shows our neighbors that we really care, that we are rooted in our neighborhood, and invested in the well-being of those around us.
Each of these things are true for many of us, of course, but our Little Free Library box is a tangible reminder of this fact to all who pass our house.
This simple Little Free Library box has connected us to our neighbors in ways that we are so thankful for.
And don’t worry, our neighbor boy got into his house after just a few minutes of snacks and hang out time at ours. Turns out his grandpa simply fell asleep with the doors locked 🙂
More about Katie Wiebe:
Katie is the mother of 3 boys and is married to John. She is a former 5th-grade teacher and currently teaches literature circle classes for elementary students at the Shafter Learning Center. She loves to work at the intersection of faith, community, and education. In her limited free time, she enjoys reading books with her boys, gardening, and rearranging the furniture (much to her husband’s chagrin).