This post is part of Little Free Library’s Steward Spotlight series! This series delves into the diversity of steward experience and uncovers the challenges, surprises, and best practices of Little Free Library volunteer stewards around the world.
In October 2017, Debbie Teague put up one of the first Little Free Library book-sharing boxes in Bossier City, Louisiana, in her residential neighborhood. Starting a Library in a neighborhood or city that doesn’t have many (or any!) Little Libraries comes with its own particular challenges. It often takes weeks or months to educate people about how Little Libraries work. We reached out to Debbie to get insight into her stewardship experience.
What type of books move the fastest in your Library?
“I’m seeing a mix of adult books (mostly mysteries) as well as young children’s books moving in and out the quickest. Not too many books are shared in my Library yet; I would guess just 3 or 4 per week. I think people are still discovering us and what Little Free Libraries are all about. I’m hoping traffic picks up over the year.”
What surprised you the most about being a steward?
“How quickly I would meet new people; children and adults alike! Before, I only knew my immediate neighbors. Now I’m meeting people from all over the South Bossier neighborhoods who have stopped by to see what we are about. I’ve enjoyed the children tremendously. I leave sidewalk chalk out for them and a white board for them to leave messages and book requests. I also have a guest book and love reading the kind messages from visitors.”
What was the biggest challenge you faced with your Little Library?
“My biggest challenge was creating my Library. I re-purposed an old Coca Cola ice chest, so I had to create a functioning Library out of it. There was no door, so I had to fabricate one from the lid of the ice chest. The hardest part was finding the right hinges to create the door. It seemed like a simple enough task, but it literally took me two months to finally get the door on!”
If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking of starting a Library, what would it be?
“Just do it! Don’t wait years like I did, thinking that they weren’t allowed in the city (they were in mine). As long as you don’t have an HOA or any legal reason not to install one, do it! Follow your dream like I did! Don’t waste any time. It will be the most fulfilling hobby you’ll ever have.”