Reading from a young age is a way for children to exercise their brain, to develop empathy and imagination and to understand the world around them. Unfortunately, not everyone has ready access to books; according to the U.S. Department of Education, 61% of low-income families don’t have any age-appropriate books for their children at home.

This is where Little Free Library steps in.

Founded in 2009, it has since snowballed into the world’s largest book-sharing movement. The concept is simple; visitors stop by to take and leave a book at their leisure. The result, however, is outstanding. Anyone can register to set up a Little Free Library in their area, and those who do create 24/7 access to books and give their community a new way to connect.

In the last 10 years, tens of millions of books have been shared through the scheme, meaning thousands across the globe have been educated, entertained and inspired by texts that they might not be able to read otherwise.

Tree Stump is Transformed into Community Library
Photo: Little Free Library

It has become a truly worldwide phenomenon and there are now more than 75,000 Little Free Libraries across 88 countries and 6 continents, the most recent being in Coeur d’Arlene, Idaho.

Sharalee Armitage Howard, a librarian by profession and lover of literature by nature, looked towards the organisation for inspiration when she was faced with cutting down a 110-year-old tree in her front garden.

Like a story taken straight from a fairy-tale, the ageing tree was given a new lease of life when Sharalee decided to transform it into a library for her local community. With miniature wooden books from Nancy Drew to The Hobbit framing the doorway, it is sure to contain treasures to delight any and every taste.

The UK is one of few remaining countries to be lacking in these picturesque libraries, but perhaps it won’t be long before you see a Little Free Library near you.

Sharalee’s library can be found on the Little Free Library’s world map by searching the charter number 82068.

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About Author

Rachael is in her final year studying Ancient History and French at UCL. A glass half full person, she enjoys writing about ways in which the everyday person can tackle big issues from widening participation in the arts to zero-waste toilet paper.

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