One of the inspirations for the Little Free Library movement was Andrew Carnegie’s dedication to free libraries. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Carnegie supported 2,509 of them. Miss Lutie Stearns also served as a role model for the organization; the librarian served 1400 locations in Wisconsin with her traveling little libraries. It’s the same feeling of community and sharing that encourages people to carry on the projects in their own neighborhoods.
Today, people have taken on the task of designing and building some of the most whimsical and creative Little Free Libraries imaginable. Staying true to the organization’s history, library builders tend to use recycled materials. Finding and using materials like old barn wood, discarded metal, and even old CDs gives builders a fun challenge and tends to make the finished products even more beautiful.
A lot of builders have chosen to stick with the traditional house or schoolhouse design – and those Little Free Libraries are totally enchanting. They can be as simple as a box set on a wall or as elaborate as a replica of the house they sit in front of.