532 S Fifth St.

Steward: Kathleen Wright

Recipient of the Little Free Library Library of Distinction Award

Rachel Pastiva: How did you find out about Little Free Libraries?

Kathleen Wright: I think I found an article about LFL or somebody mentioned them, so I went to the LFL site and fell in love. At that time there was only one other on Ann Arbor’s official LFL map. I put my hubs, Jonathan, right on it 🙂 It took longer than we thought, by the time we figured out design, chose materials and layout of the area, and actually built it so that it was very sturdy and waterproof. It works super well with no leaks. The next thing we want to do is put in solar lights. I purchased some and hopefully, they’ll be in before the snow flies.

Rachel: What inspired the inclusion of an owl in your LFL’s design?

Kathleen: The summer we put the LFL in I was walking every day, very early in the morning– before dawn. We had a family of screech owls living in the neighborhood and they were always in our yard, front or back. I fell in love with these little ear-tufted guys with their funny, whirring trill. One morning the whole family was up in our front tree and I took a photo… which in the early morning light came out as a blurry, group of six blobs on the branches with glowing eyes! Jonathan decided to surprise me and put an owl on the LFL. We brought our family fairy theme in by having the owl clutch a copy of my book… which in actuality is still a manuscript. 😛

Rachel: I love that you’ve created a space to gather with benches for adults and kids. Do borrowers often make use of the space?

Kathleen: Borrowers do sometimes sit and have a good meander over the books in the warmer weather. Oftentimes it is parents with little kids. LOVE it.

Rachel: In what ways do you think your LFL has impacted your neighborhood?

Kathleen: The neighbors are very fond of our LFL. We have all come to know neighbors further afield through it. We had a neighbor across the street, she passed away last year, but she would especially love to cross the street and chat with anyone who stopped by.

Rachel: What has been the most surprising part of being an LFL steward?

Kathleen: I have been happily surprised by the number of people I have met. And just how much fun it is in general. It is not expense free, however, as it is not quite self-sustaining when it comes to books, especially children’s books. I pick them up from garage sales and such. I’m always looking for donations.

Rachel: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Kathleen: I decided to always keep a pen and post-it notes inside the library. Neighbors donating books can write a mini review and stick it to the cover of their book. Visitors can also leave us a note with ideas or comments. Some people have started to leave bookmarks, too.

I’m also a “Book Fairy” and have on occasion put into my LFL a few copies of books that I feel are especially important, the latest being Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, which I deliberately bought multiple copies of for this purpose. Book Fairies hide books all over, so I don’t just leave them in our LFL, but at coffee shops, etc. I mention it here because people can get involved with spreading the joy and learning of books even if they don’t have the ways or means of an LFL. Check out Book Fairies here: ibelieveinbookfairies.com

LFL Steward Kathleen Wright is a Young Fives Kindergarten teacher with the Ann Arbor Public Schools. When not working on the plethora of activities associated with teaching and kids, she loves reading, storytelling, writing on her blog, and spending time with her husband and their new puppy and kitten, Pippenwyck and Smudge.

Featured in October 2018 newsletter