Steward Spotlight: Meet Elsie the Mobile-Bookstore-Turned-Little-Free-Library

By Megan Hanson

Melissa Rippy is the third owner of the mobile bookstore that she has turned into Elsie the Mobile Little Free Library charter #134624. Melissa spotted Elsie for sale online. There was so much interest in Elsie that Melissa immediately bought her sight unseen!

“I just fell in love with her and thought it would be a great idea to get her registered as a Little Free Library and visit low-income and high-need neighborhoods to provide books to all ages, ” says Melissa. “I am the third owner. The first named the trailer after his grandmother, Elsie, and the second owner converted her to a bookstore.”

If you’ve looked at Little Free Library plans and thought your Little Free Library design had to be a wooden box of books, think again! Keep reading to learn more about Melissa’s creative approach to book sharing.

How exactly does it work? Is Elsie open all the time to everyone?

When not introducing Elsie to our community, I spend my time as a small business owner; I own an insurance agency. We will be using Elsie as an extension of our business through events in the community. Because Elsie is a mobile library, I have her stored in Brighton, Colorado, when not in use. HOA and city regulations require that. She will only travel to specific events and book distributions. We truly want Elsie’s books to reach high-need communities.

What has your favorite event been so far?

Since we have just recently acquired Elsie, we have only done one event which was partnering with a local nonprofit called Let Your Light Shine that provides outreach for mobile homelessness in addition to food distribution. There were 296 total people served at that event!

 How many books have been shared through Elsie?

That’s a good question and I’m not sure of the answer! A young girl from our first event really touched my heart. When she stepped foot into Elsie, she said that she had been looking forward to us coming for some time and that she was so excited we were there. She was a huge Harry Potter fan and a friend of mine had literally just donated the entire series of Harry Potter books. The little girl grabbed every single one of the books and it looked like Christmas day on her face.

Since we spoke to Melissa, Elsie has booked two more events and is getting a whole new look with an exterior custom vinyl wrap! Keep up with the latest happenings on Facebook: Elsie the Mobile Little Free Library. 

Ready to bring a Little Free Library book exchange to your neighborhood? Learn how to start a Little Free Library.

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