Salem’s First Little Free Library

Have you heard of Little Free Libraries? We loved the idea when we first heard of it. It’s a simple thing. You put out a box full of books and allow the community to take a book, give a book. We also knew that our very talented neighbors would like the idea as well. We have a home builder, librarian, teacher and artist on our street and many are devoted readers. This project was also family friendly so even the youngest reader could share board books and share in the love of reading.little library sketch

We started with an idea and a sketch.

old cedar box

And our neighbor found this old cedar box that was once used as a camping kitchen.

And then we (err, our very talented neighbor Mike got to work). Mike built his own home so we knew he’d be a pro at this project. Since we decided to have two shelves for our Little Free Library, we made ours taller than the original plan. We used old shingles from another project and scrap wood. The only thing we purchased were springs and brackets for the door and plexiglass.

We also registered our Little Free Library and received an upcycled sign created from old barn wood from Amish Country.

Neighbors created colorful artwork on shrinky dinks, and I incorporated them into mosaics on the sides along with broken jewelry, cobalt blue glass from bottles, and broken china.

We decided to have a lunch potluck for the grand opening and loved meeting with our neighbors and catching up on a warm, spring day.

You too can create a Little Free Library and we’d love to see the movement grow in Salem. Right now Summer Street Little Library is the only Little Free Library in Salem. Visit for more information, to get ideas of types of structures as well as the important FAQs. Also if you have a question feel free to ask. DIY Studio would love to make a community build day where we assist others to create Little Free Libraries out of recycled and repurposed materials. Or I can put you in touch with our fabulous neighbor Mike, who you can hire to build one for you. Either way, it’s a wonderful addition to any community and a fun way to promote reading and reuse in your neighborhood. Happy reading and feel free to stop by and visit our Summer St’s Little Free Library anytime, 2055 Summer St SE, Salem OR 97302. We’re open 24-7.

7 thoughts on “Salem’s First Little Free Library”

  • This is Awesome!! You’ve already got a few if my neighbors in S. Salem plotting where we’re gonna put it! I’m a book cover designer and I can’t wait to put one of “my” books in our box!

  • The timing couldn’t have been any better because I live two streets over and drove past the little free library. Curious and a lover of books, I was tempted to park and be nosy but was afraid that I was intruding on someone’s privacy. This was 3 days ago and here it is!!! Yay! I love the idea but wonder if the kids on my street would vandalize it. We can’t seem to keep our solar lights in our yard. Maybe I’ll come by and donate a few books.

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