Big idea, tiny reads

Little Free Library

Photo courtesy of Ali Eminov

The name is simple and straightforward: Little Free Library. That is what it is and so much more. It all started in 2009 when Todd Bol of Hudson, Wis., created a model of an old schoolhouse and filled it with books in honor of his late mother. He placed the tiny outlet in his front yard, where it soon became popular with Hudson locals and gained the attention of Rick Brooks, a former professor.

Brooks urged Bol to expand upon his idea. And so the Little Free Library network was born, and as of January, they now number 15,000 worldwide—with 30 registered around the Sacramento area. And “little” is no misnomer. Most of these guys measure less than 2-feet wide by 2-feet tall.

Interested in starting your own? Purchase a kit from the nonprofit's website—prices start at $174.99 and top out at about $800.

Don't fret if you aren't flush with cash: Many “little” librarians rally community support via donations, or even build their own.

Either way, just remember to make the structure waterproof and sturdy enough to hold the weight of all those great books.

No matter the look or origin, any little library can be registered and made part of the official network for a one-time fee of $34.95. For a directory of maps or to learn more, visit