Steward Spotlight: Donna Bright on Working With an HOA to Start a Library

By Megan Hanson

“I was scrolling through Facebook years ago when I first saw a Little Free Library. It put such a smile on my face that I knew I wanted to start one of my own someday,” says Donna Bright, steward of library #M107532 in Chino, California. (Find her library and many more the Little Free Library world map!)

There were some obstacles in the way of Donna’s little library dreams, though. Donna and her family live in a master-planned community where changing the exterior of a house or having any structures in the front yard isn’t allowed. She had to think outside the box and came up with a creative way that she could still share books with her community! 

One of the neighborhood host families, the Olsens, take over the library for a weekend.

What inspired you to start a Little Free Library?

I’ve had a love affair with reading since childhood. Trips to B. Dalton and the library were such a treat for me growing up. I’m part of a few online book clubs and started seeing more and more Little Free Library stewards in those groups. Our local library has yet to re-open so I thought it would be a nice way to bring the community together.

How did you start a little library without violating any HOA rules?

I was looking for ideas on Little Free Library’s website and noticed some little libraries were on bikes or wagons. We’ve got a busy family schedule, so I knew I couldn’t devote the time to a book route. That’s what gave me the idea to make ours a “pop-up” Little Free Library. We have a Little Free Library Pop-Up Facebook and Instagram page. We post every week in our community group page so people know where to find the cart next!

How often do different families host the pop-up library?

Families take turns hosting the library pop-up each weekend and can message us through Facebook to schedule a date that works for them. We made some improvements to the cart so it’s got sturdy wheels and can be pushed around the neighborhood. If it’s going too far to walk, I load it up in my car and drop it off. We use a bike lock to secure it to a tree or bench. It has some limitations in that it can only be out on weekends, weather permitting. However, Southern California weather is usually nice and sunny.

What has surprised you the most since starting a Little Free Library?

The most surprising thing about starting a Little Free Library has been the positive engagement and feedback from members in our community. We only just got our charter last month and already we’ve gotten generous donations and lots of involvement. We’ve lived in our community for more than eight years and have met so many more neighbors this last month!

Learn how to start a Little Free Library book box for your neighborhood!

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