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Our Little Free Library is Up and Running!

We are so excited that Dewees Island has a new Little Free Library.  If you’ve never heard of these, it’s an international nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. Our library was provided by Chris and Monica Graff, who became island owners this summer.

Chris and Monica: little free library

Chris and Monica spend part of their year in Polebridge, Montana. They have this Little Free Library up and running in their front yard, on the way to Glacier National Park.   

little free library Polebridge MN

Monica says this about her library:

I’ve been the steward of our Little Free Library in Polebridge, Montana (charter #16378, just outside Glacier National Park), for about four years now, and it has been a big hit with tourists and locals alike. I keep a rotating stock of literature and fun books based on what I think would interest the locals (and they let me know), and then people also leave books of their own. People from all over the world have left little thank-you notes, bouquets of fresh-picked wildflowers, Polaroid photos, and poems. One lady—a tourist on her way to the Park—even mailed me a box of really good books when she got back home! I had no idea when we put up the library that it would mean so much to people, but it makes sense. Books can change lives. They can even save them sometimes.

Monica and Chris ordered the little free library and had it delivered to Dewees. Like homes on the island, the design was cleared through the ARB. Here it is in the mailroom:

little free library arrives at the mailroom

And after Lori installed it in the location next to the turtle, Chris painted it with Dewees approved colors.

Chris paints the little free library

Monica stocked it with books. She says,

I wanted to bring a Little Free Library to Dewees because I saw how much it meant to the people of Polebridge. They really took to it right away. Plus, books are my passion. I love reading and learning, but I also love recommending good books. Sometimes even if I haven’t read them but just sort of know what they’re about. Chris says I have a talent for matching people to books, which I never really realized. Now I’m trying to pay attention to–and trust–that intuition. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I don’t. But it doesn’t hurt to try!

And here is the finished product!

Chris even installed a hook for a dog leash:

Which Tucker approves of.

And one of the Aldo Leopold Benches that Quentin Clark made as a gift for the island sits between the Little Free Library and the turtle we commissioned as part of a Spoleto “Turtles on the Town” program in 2007. The turtle was designed by Patricia Adelman, a ceramic artist from Camden, SC. So this corner provides that sense of what we value: the library, the books within, the art, and the wild. Leopold says, “There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.”

Doesn’t it just make you want to sit and read for a while?

Already, the library is generating excitement and community connections. Several owners posted that they had either added or borrowed books, and Alicia took her boys to see what they might be excited about.

We loved the book, and it was our first time reading it. They both thought it was cool to be reading about an island while we lived on an island. And that all the islands are connected in the world.

Because it’s part of a much bigger network, you can find our little free library on the world map here.

And finding them in other places is a treat, too. My friend Jennifer lives near this one in the Park Circle area. She says, “Three cheers for Little Free Libraries! The best idea to come along since….the library! Glad to hear you all got one on the island. I love seeing adults and little kids taking advantage. It gets a lot of use.”

And this fall, my sister found this one near Ngoro Ngora crater in Tanzania.

When you add a book to the library, you can put a stamp in it (supplies are right there). And when you return it, it might be fun to add a card with your thoughts about the book. I think it would be fun to see who else had read that one.

We were a little concerned about how everything would fare in the weather, but we had several downpours yesterday, and the books were high and dry. Monica shared this photo of her library in Montana in severe weather:

So next time you’re on the island, come check it out! And a hearty thanks to Chris and Monica!!!