Victoria Kibler has a very busy Little Free Library, and it’s not because she’s in a great location. Her Library (charter #8252) is on a quiet cul-de-sac in a neighborhood without sidewalks in Claremont, California. Yet, she estimates that about 50 books are exchanged in her Little Library every week.
So what’s her secret? Victoria was an early adopter of Little Free Libraries. As a longtime steward, we asked her to share what she’s learned.
What type of books move the fastest in your Library?
“I always display a variety of books and they are all taken quite quickly. One section is for adults, another is for kids. Some adult visitors come specifically for Christian books. Others come for books to read for fun, like romance novels, chick lit, and murder mysteries … biographies and non-fiction are popular, too.
“I try to offer a variety of books for children ages 8 – 18: anime, graphic novels, classics, and the latest trendy series. Kids and their parents text, phone, and email me asking if I have certain books. (I do not know what Dork Diaries are, but they leave as fast as they come in!) Last week, there were coins from The Great American Coin Hunt in the Little Library with the books, too!
“The Children’s Bench next to the Library has an assortment of books for babies, preschoolers, and beginning readers. I pick a different theme each week. (Last week’s theme was Earth Day.) This Little Free Library has been in the neighborhood for four years now, so some little children have grown up with it.
“A little girl in the neighborhood, Katie, and her mother have been walking to the Library since before Katie was even born. Katie (who is starting kindergarten in September!) and her mom still come to get picture books. Katie’s first birthday party was even (sort of) held at the Little Free Library! Her parents walked the entire group over to the Little Free Library as the party’s entertainment. They wanted to show it off—and every guest took home a book.”
How do you get so many people to come to your Little Library?
“I think that the secret to this Little Free Library’s success is that when neighbors come by, they always find a book to take home. And then they tell their friends.
“My Little Free Library is not easy to find. Our house gets (at the most) three kids trick-or-treating on Halloween. Almost no one comes up here. This was my biggest challenge. So, I have made it a point to tell everyone in the neighborhood about this Little Free Library. In the beginning, I made a three-fold flyer and took it to every house in this area. I joined Nextdoor.com and regularly post about interesting books that are available.
“When unsuspecting people do come up this street, I grab them and show them the wonders of this Little Free Library. The Jehovah’s Witnesses now make a point of stopping by and getting books for their children whenever they are in the area. Our mail carrier likes books about horses for her grandchildren. The FedEx delivery man has a son who likes sharks. One Amazon delivery guy took home over a hundred hardcover Star Wars books that had been donated. He was in heaven! And, again, all of these people tell their friends.
“There’s one other thing. My Little Free Library has one special event every year: the Annual Cook Book Exchange. I ‘collect’ cook books all year. Then, for the duration of October, more than 1,000 cook books are available for people to take. People come from five counties to get these cook books. (I know, because I ask where they are from.) The only publicity for this event is people telling their friends. But apparently a lot of people are telling a lot of their friends!”
We hope you’ve learned a little something from Victoria’s experience! This story is part of our Steward Spotlight series, and there are plenty more posts to check out in the series. Or, if you’re not a Little Free Library steward yet, learn how to get a Little Free Library.