“It’s funny how things that aren’t planned sometimes turn out so well. That’s the way it happened with the Little Free Library,” says Kathy Walters, steward of Little Free Library #97020 in Stevensville, Pennsylvania.

It started with Kathy’s son, Sebastian. “He’s eight years old and a sweetheart to everyone, but he has autism and has a difficult time with managing his emotions,” she says. Kathy and her family were dealing with the awful loss of baby Rose, who was stillborn in March. Kathy was heartbroken, and seeing Sebastian devastated made things even worse.

About two weeks later COVID-19 hit and quarantine began. Kathy’s other son, Liam, is five years old and there’s a Little Free Library outside of his preschool. The idea arose that the family could have a little library at their own house. The boys were thrilled and they persuaded their dad to build the book-sharing box. It was Sebastian who came up with the idea to dedicate the library to Rose. 

“And then it was like that had been the plan all along. It fell into place perfectly,” says Kathy. “Building the library helped me. It helped me mentally to focus on something that I could dedicate to Rose; not just a project, something for her. I would never be able to make things for her growing up like I have for my other children, but this I could do. It was something I could do for others in her name.”

The family decorated the library with roses and sparkly lettering; they added a dragonfly on one side because Liam said his sister would’ve loved dragonflies. They painted an angel on the other side to represent Rose.

The Little Free Library is new so it’s stocked with a variety of books until Kathy gets a sense of which types of books are most popular. “I live in a rural area and the closest public library is 20 miles away, so I’m hopeful that my little library will benefit the neighborhood,” Kathy says. “I’m so happy that the library is hers and that she gets to be there in spirit with her big brothers.”

Learn more about how to start a Little Free Library in your neighborhood.

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