Cedar Rapids Man Helping The Community & How You Can Too
Over the last few years, you may have noticed tiny libraries popping up around your area (mostly around schools and churches). Some of these awesome projects are also outside people's homes. Today I learned that anyone can start a tiny library, all it takes is some love and dedication!
I sat down and talked with a local named Keaton M. Fuller about his recent tiny library project.
Fuller is a friend of mine and was happy to share his vast knowledge of the incredible world of tiny libraries. When asked about his inspiration behind this mini-library Fuller stated,
I was inspired to start a Little Free Library as a means of providing for our community. During lockdown in 2020 my partner and I would walk our dog through the neighborhood, and sometimes I’d peek at what was in the LFLs in our area. One thing that jumped out to me was the lack of books for young readers. There would usually be a lot of picture books for very young kids and plenty of books aimed at a more adult audience, but very little for early readers and teens. I remembered how vital books were to me during that time in life, and wanted to provide some worthwhile options for readers in that demographic.
You can also help with your own library!
You can see more photos of Keaton Fuller's library on his Instagram. Fuller was excited to help teach me how to start these libraries,
Little Free Library is a national nonprofit. You can purchase the official kit to build your own through there and get registered on their charter. They have a map where you can see and learn about Little Free Libraries all around the country. People craftier than I am have also come up with their own unique designs for their libraries, sometimes crafting them from tree stumps or modeling them after their own houses.
Fuller also gave some advice on the Libraries,
When starting your own LFL, don’t get discouraged. Putting something out there that’s accessible to the public can feel very vulnerable. You’re going to occasionally have somebody who mistreats it, but you can’t let that detract from all the people before them who have gotten joy from it. I’m very lucky to have friends and family that keep me well-stocked in books. If I see somebody decided to throw all of the books to the ground, I go outside, pick them up, and put twice as many back in.
You can learn more about Fuller, and his project here. He has been having a great time with this! He went on to share more about what got him into this awesome project!
My partner, Phil, surprised me with not only the LFL for Christmas that year, but also book donations and letters from friends and family encouraging me to get my own up and running. I’ve been curating it for nearly a year, and focus on books for young readers. As lawmakers have sought to restrict classroom access to books that promote diversity, inclusivity, or tackle social justice issues, I’ve made a special point of including those types of books in our library. I want my library to be a place where marginalized kids can feel seen, and where readers can learn about people with a background different from their own.