This past week was National Library Week here in the United States. I put my own personal spin on the festivities by exploring the little free libraries in my area of Chicago. I went to six locations (there are 20+ within walking distance of my apartment) and have ranked them based on the exterior aesthetic and the books found inside each below. Every location was wonderful in its own right and is worth stopping by if you live in, or are ever near, the area.
I’m also extremely excited to announce I am officially a Bookshop.org affiliate!
What does that mean? All book links in this post, or in any upcoming posts, will be linked back to my affiliate site at Bookshop.org. If I persuade you enough to buy a book through one of these links, I’ll receive a little money for my personal book fund.
Not only do your purchases help me continue this passion project of mine– they will also help local bookstores (Bookshop.org has already raised $25M+ for local bookstores to date). All opinions on this blog remain my own and my affiliation comes with no cost to you. Thanks in advance for your support now and in the future!
Without further ado, here are my favorite little free libraries in my area:
1. Wolcott and Nelson – Fairy BNB Little Library
I love this little library.
As a mini replica of the house it sits outside of, I’ve made up the story of how this little library came to be in my head. I imagine a little girl telling her dad about how she wants a place where the fairies can stop to rest, read, and play outside her house (yes, fairies) and when asked what this place might look like she replies, “Our house, duh!” So, yes, I think that this little library may very well be a BNB for fairies. It’s always well stocked with more than just books and is located in a quiet, residential part of the city surrounded by some absolutely beautiful architecture.
Favorite book inside: The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry
2. Cornelia and Seeley – “You are Beautiful” Little Library
While the exterior isn’t much to look at, the contents were a smorgasbord of items dropped off by passersby, including coffee mugs, postcards, and more. It showed how little libraries don’t have to be just for books. They can become a communal haven for a neighborhood.
Favorite book inside: New Parent Apology Cards by Lane Walker Foard
3. Ravenswood and School – The Kid’s Little Library
This particular little library gives an old school house vibe and is clearly labeled as a kid’s little library. I loved the nostalgia of looking through the books inside, but if you are looking for more balance in the contents of a little library this might not be the stop for you.
Favorite book inside: Superfudge by Judy Blume
4. Lakewood and Addison – Snoopy Book Box
Who doesn’t love Snoopy, Woodstock, and their red dog house? This little library is iconic and has its very own Instagram page. It was a little lacking in choices during my stop last week, but the owners often restock and will notify their followers when it happens. The one downside to this particular little library is that it’s very close to Wrigley Field, meaning it’s on a very busy, often congested street. This makes it difficult to peruse the books inside the way I personally like.
Favorite book inside: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
5. Barry and Leavitt – Firehouse 56 Little Library
This little library is the perfect little firehouse placed, you guessed it, right outside Firehouse 56. It was probably the hardest little library to get into with the door on the front being a bit heavy and the hook on the side difficult to unlatch. The books inside made it feel like people were leaving books for the firefighters instead of books for the general public, which was honestly really heartwarming.
Favorite book inside: The Sum of All Fears by Tom Clancy (my husband’s pick tbh)
6. Paulina and Cornelia – Teal Little Library
This little library, while very bright on the outside, could use a little TLC — but it’s nothing a fresh coat of teal paint and a screwdriver can’t fix. This was very well stocked and was evenly balanced between kids’ books and adult reads.
Favorite book inside: Fodor’s London by Fodor’s Travel Guides
I hope I’ve inspired you to go and look for the little free libraries in your area. I’ll leave you with the most important rule when picking up a book from a little free library before I close out this post:
Take a book; Leave a book.