John and Mary Hill enjoy doing things to benefit their community. That’s why a few years back, they founded a food pantry on the campus of Front Range Community College, where they both worked.

Then in 2018, Mary was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and they were both looking for something to lift their spirits and contribute to their neighborhood. 

“Setting up a Little Free Library is a way of giving back,” says John. “When I saw the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network sign, I jumped at the chance to add it to the library and share the need for supported research of this cruel disease.”

So Little Free Library #74562 in Fort Collins, Colorado, was established in August 2018. We asked John and Mary to share their stewardship experiences and advice with the LFL community.

Is there anything special or unusual about your Little Free Library?

We placed our little library along the street next to our mailbox that is guarded by our 20ft. welded steel dragon, named Scabra (Latin for rust). Scabra was created by the welding students at Front Range Community College here in Ft. Collins, and we purchased her in a scholarship auction several years ago.

Since Scabra set a tone for the general library location, we added a 3D printed dragon to the door of the library as a good luck totem to all who use the LFL. We make an effort to decorate the library zone for major holidays, especially Halloween. Our dragon has lights and a smoke machine that we employ for the holiday, and it seems to attract attention.

What type of books are most popular in your library?

We live just one block from our neighborhood elementary school, so we do traffic in quite a few kids’ books, but being academics, we have a house full of books of all kinds and the library has created an opportunity to clear our shelves of books we are no longing using, but may be of interest to others

What has surprised you the most since starting a library?

We love watching the neighborhood kids and families sort through the library. I think the dragon is a draw, but then folks notice the library as well. Our four-year-old granddaughter wants to pick out a book every time she comes to visit.

Do you have any tips or advice for other stewards?

Variety is a good thing, try to have offerings for a variety of ages and interests. We tend to check the library at least once a week to ensure there are no inappropriate items left by a visitor.

Want to find more little libraries or bring one to your neighborhood? Use the Little Free Library world map or learn how to start a Little Free Library book box! 

Pancreatic cancer is a cause close to our hearts here at Little Free Library. Learn more about our partnership with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

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