This is about our Little Free Library in Freeland, Oxfordshire, UK. This community project was grant aided by West Oxfordshire District Council.
Children seem to use our Little Free Library a lot, especially as they pass by on their way to or from school, so we haven’t really had to work very hard to encourage them to take books. From time to time, however, we try to surprise them with something a bit different!
This week, I put a small soft toy in the LFL, with a tag around it’s neck that said “Read to me”, with the aim that a child will take it home and read a book to the toy. I have to admit that this wasn’t my idea; I had seen another Little Free Library do this, and thought I’d give it a try. I have a few spare soft toys at home that my children have outgrown, so I will circulate a couple of them later this week, so that more than one child can enjoy the experience. We’ll see how it goes.
In the past, I have also raided my children’s toy box and taken a few small toys to put into the Little Free Library, for example a small car or action figure, just one at a time. These have always been snapped up pretty quickly. I’m not sure if they encouraged children to take a book, but I’m sure they were happy to find a free toy!
Sometimes I have printed out colouring sheets, and offered them alongside the books. This was particularly popular leading up to Star Wars Reads Day in October; their website had free printable colouring sheets depicting scenes and characters from the Star Wars movies. Around the same time, I also picked up some Star Wars annuals from charity shops, and they were taken from the Little Free Library pretty quickly.
Last October, we hosted local publisher Fircone Books, who generously donated some of their children’s books. It was a real thrill be to be able to offer brand new books in our Little Free Library, and these children’s books were quickly snapped up. (Read more here)
I must admit that I don’t pay as much attention to the children’s books as I do to the adults’; children’s books seem to get taken and replaced without me having to intervene very much, although I do change out the stock every couple of weeks, to make sure that there’s something different in there to keep the children interested.
We have been very fortunate to have received a lot of used children’s books from families in the village, so we have never run out. Families with children really seem to have embraced the Little Free Library, and use it often.
Some of the most popular authors / books have been:
Winnie the Witch books
Dragon Quest books
Horrid Henry books
Mr Men and Little Miss books
Charlie and Lola books
Anything to do with Star Wars
Anything to do with Frozen