So a story about stories should begin with a story. Once upon atime, there was a small, blonde girl too smart for her own good, who enjoyed sparkly jewelry and high heels as well as sports and tree-climbing equally and who was deeply in love with her father. Books and candy tied for second. Candy she could get, having taught herself to cook, but she didn’t know where to get enough books. She had already devoured everything in the school library and read to tatters all the books at home. Trips by car to the big library downtown were few and far between for this impatient, voracious scholar and championship speller.
One sunny Saturday when this child was seven years old, her precious father took her small hand in his and said, “We’re going for a walk.” They walked and walked, out of the regal old neighborhood, past the grocery market, across the highway, through a field, past the tall office buildings, two miles from home. At last, they arrived at the Central Library, tall and glorious in its marble splendor. Pop knelt before the girl and pointed to the building. “Now you know how to get here on your own and you can come anytime.” Jubilant, she ran inside and immediately discovered the check out limit was fifty books, which was a good start. The girl, finally fed, lived happily ever after.
The Little Free Library is a grassroots movement to provide books (“leave a book, take a book”) to anyone at any time, particularly children, especially low-income kids in book deserts. Little Free Libraries can be any shape, size, color and type.
Library Stewards can get as creative as they wish with their libraries. I had to brainstorm for weeks about what to use for mine that would withstand extreme heat, cold, tornadoes, and driving rain, but would also visibly showcase the books. Finally, I realized that machines used to dispense daily papers would be perfect. I spent months contacting the company and finally obtained the correct contact and was able to obtain two of the retired machines. I painted them purple and green with lots of polka dots so they would be vibrant and visible and fun. I registered my libraries with the national organization; bought a starter supply of books and christened my Lilliputian libraries the Thomas Nipper Memorial Little Free Library. Then I began soliciting book donations from everyone I knew and the books just poured in. I want to do all I can to provide stories to other children of any age who are like me. Little Free Library # 20025 lived happily ever after.
As featured in Oklahoma Magazine, July, 2015
MomsofTulsa.com, May, 2015
Tulsa People, March, 2016