2947 Atterberry Drive

Steward: Judy Nowack

One of the co-founders of Little Free Libraries (LFL), in an interview a few months ago, remarked on the joy he sees on the faces of people when they first spot an LFL, “It’s like seeing a puppy.”

That has also been my experience.  Good thing, too, because it was, in fact, my intent in creating one.

Since my retirement from the University of Michigan five years ago, I have been looking for imaginative ways to invest in my immediate neighborhood, Liberty Glen Subdivision. An LFL can be a destination: a place to slow down, a place to chew the fat with neighbors, a place to soothe nerve endings inflamed these days by national news, a place to feel good.

My Little Free Library, at 2947 Atterberry Drive, is now one year old.  

I had originally planned to retrofit a secondhand cabinet; but when I was not satisfied with my ability to seal it from the weather, I decided to begin my LFL adventure by purchasing a starter model from the Little Free Library online store. 

I painted the box bright primary colors and tiled the roof with Formica samples from the Scrap Box. I installed auxiliary niches for toys for the little visitors and a dog treat dispenser for the other little visitors. In hot, sunny weather, I bring out my solar-powered water feature.  The local reception has been nothing but positive, and it certainly brings me joy.

Like most LFL’s I have read about, mine is not self-sustaining.  Luckily, I have found sources of low-cost books and I try to keep it fresh by trading books in and out.  A neighbor reported that he had prematurely returned Walter the Farting Dog and needed to take it back to get his daughter to bed.  I’m not complaining.  It’s an ideal outcome.  

–Judy Nowack retired from her position as Associate Vice President for Research at University of Michigan in 2013, and now stays busy with her art and volunteer activities with Washtenaw Literacy, as a Master Gardener, and as a board member of Ten Thousand Villages

Featured in July 2018 newsletter