This post is part of Little Free Library’s Steward Spotlight series! 

For Katie Larson, starting a Little Free Library was a natural extension of her job as a seventh grade language arts teacher. Katie said, “I’m crazy obsessed with this Library and it’s one of the things that actually make my commute home a little more exciting, because I’m looking forward to seeing if anyone used it … I’m a teacher, so forcing books on people is my jam.”

Katie’s Library, charter #79563 in Winchester, California, was a Christmas gift from her husband. He surprised her with the Cottage Unfinished Library, which they then decorated before installing it this January.

Original Little Free Library

The original Cottage Unfinished Library that Katie received for Christmas.

“The inside of the Library was inspired by my husband who said, ‘if the outside is book spines and covers, maybe the inside should be pages.’ So, I had to figure out which book to sacrifice. In my masters studies I had to read some books that were not my favorite, and this particular Ann Radcliffe novel, The Italian, made better wallpaper than a second time reading, in my opinion. All it took was modge podge, patience, and an audio book in my ears,” Katie shared.

Little Free Library Side

Book spine decorations cover the sides of the Little Library.

Interior Library

Here’s a close look at the inside of Katie’s Library, covered in pages!

Though Katie’s Little Library has only been up and running for a few weeks, it’s already had a great response from the community. She was nervous that no one would use it, but those fears turned out to be unfounded.

“The joke was that my husband would have to go to bookstores on the sly to fill the box every couple of days, just to make me feel as though it was working,” Katie joked. “Luckily, our neighborhood has a pretty active Facebook community group, so I was able to advertise it there and I got over 400 positive responses in two days. Since then (it’s been about a week!), we’ve had pretty good traffic. I think 15 books have gone out, and I’ve received at least 15 back, if not more. That’s pretty good for the first week, considering we live on a cul-de-sac and don’t get a ton of passersby. Our neighbor even commented the other day that our box had been pretty busy!”

Finished Little Library

The finished Library, painted green with book pages covering the interior.

When we asked Katie what had been the most surprising part of stewardship so far, she said, “I think the biggest surprise was the response from the community. So many people commented that they wanted to donate books and they wanted to help. I had to make sure they understood that they could take books, too! It wasn’t just a donation box. I talk to more neighbors now because, sometimes when I get home, there’s someone standing in our front yard, book in hand. It’s great fun!”

Find Katie’s Little Free Library on our world map, or follow her on Instagram or Facebook. Are you ready to start your own Little Free Library? Many stewards tell us it’s the most rewarding volunteer gig they’ve ever had! Learn how to start a Little Free Library.

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