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.
Carlie Underhill is a coordinator at Yea Community House in Victoria, Australia. Last year they decided to put up a giant Little Free Library, modeled after the iconic TARDIS from the British TV show Dr. Who.
The Library is located at the local Civic Center, which includes the Community House, Library and Shire office. When it comes to books, Carlie shared, “We have a very large walk-in Library, so we have the space to offer books for all age groups. We find that the turnover of book genres and age groups are pretty even, although perhaps we see slightly faster rotation with children’s books. We are a small community of 1,000 residents, but the turnover in the TARDIS Library is quite high. At a guess, it would be at least 50 books a week.”
When we asked Carlie what her biggest challenge has been since becoming a Little Free Library volunteer steward, she said, “In the early days, the TARDIS was cleaned out of books a few times. We presume it was a book seller. We have since put some signs up and purchased a Little Free Library stamp; we make sure we stamp every book. We haven’t had any issues since using a stamp!
“We also have had some issues with people dumping large amounts of old (falling apart/stinky) books and magazines. We weed out the old books. We found that people were not taking the magazines, so we placed a sign on the Library asking that no magazines be left, and that took care of it.”
Carlie said, “We enjoy offering something a little bit different to the community. We LOVE projects that are all-inclusive, with no barriers to any age groups! My advice to new stewards is to be sure to use a stamp on your books!”