Trick or Treat and Read: A Little Free Library Event

By Megan Hanson

Starting in 2016, Little Free Library volunteer steward Margaret Farmer has hosted a “Trick or Treat and Read” event at her Library in Boston. It’s a fun way to encourage kids to read on the spookiest night of the year! If you get lots of trick-or-treaters every year, then you may want to try this next Halloween.

Here’s how Margaret’s event works: “We provide every trick-or-treater with a book of their choice to take home. This year we went through nine boxes of books! From board books through high school, the community has really embraced the idea, with a local non-profit farm now offering books as well. Kids like being able to make their own choice, and parents are excited that the kids are not getting more candy.

“My Little Library’s personality trends toward books for young readers and adult books. Chapter books and middle school aren’t as popular. I place them in circulation for two weeks, and save them for Halloween after that. On Halloween all level of books are popular, but middle school kids are sensitive about taking books. They’ll take a book if it’s one a peer might think was cool. This year GoosebumpsDiary of a Wimpy Kid, and Disney’s The Descendants were fast movers.

“This event would not be possible without donations from the community. I have lovely neighbors who contribute to ensure everyone gets a book. Boston Reads, a city program, supplements the collection. I purchase books at my Salvation Army and Goodwill. They are are happy to extend a discount when I explain all books are distributed for free to local kids. In past years, although not this year, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt came through with a wonderful donation of 100 books.

“I founded this Library after a traumatic event on my street. I wanted to increase activity and interaction with my neighbors to ensure we all recovered together. My Library has done this and so much more. During the day I can receive visitors as often as every 15 minutes. Local families love stopping by to see what has arrived. Several older neighbors report appreciating the short walk to see what treasures are available. From one Library in East Boston in 2015, to five Libraries in the area today, our community has embraced the idea of promoting literacy and interacting with one another. Thank you to the Little Free Library organization for making this so easy!”

Ready to get in on the fun? Learn how to start a Little Free Library.

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