A Creative and Unusual Little Free Library

By Megan Hanson

Debbie McNeil stewards Little Free Library (LFL) #114315 in Cultus Lake, British Columbia, Canada. Find her library and many more on the Little Free Library world map!

McNeil is passionate about books and reading. Her friend Earla, who also stewards a little library, encouraged her to start one to share her passion with her small community of 1100 people.

McNeil was initially uncertain her LFL would be beneficial because she lives on a dead-end street. During the winter, however, she noticed more and more people were using the Trans Canada Trail next to her house to walk to the lake, so she built a library to accommodate the growing foot traffic.

McNeil, who is not a carpenter and did not have the tools to construct a traditional Little Free Library, built an atypical library with materials readily available to her.

She started by looking for the perfect cabinet to repurpose and came across one on the local free items Facebook page. After picking up the cabinet, McNeil stained the wood, then added light shelf paper inside to brighten it up. She then set out to weatherproof her library. After drawing out a plan, McNeil and her husband built a roof and frame for the library using leftover wood and shingles from a previous project.

They set up the library at the end of their driveway and decorated it with flowers planted in the stand and hanging baskets. As a final touch, McNeil had a friend make the signs.

Before building her library, McNeil had posted a request for free books on a local Facebook page. She had also contacted the Chilliwack Learning Society, the Chilliwack Rotary Club, and the Chilliwack Bowl for Hope Society to request book donations.

By the time she finished constructing her library, she had boxes of books featuring various genres ready to be displayed in her LFL. McNeil created some bookmarks and added them to her library. She also included a box of free stuffed animals earmarked with tags asking kids to take them home and read to them.

With the help of her community, some quick thinking, and creativity, McNeil was able to open the first and (so far) only LFL in Cultus Lake, Canada.

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