A librarian from the Coeur d’Alene Public Library in Idaho found a unique, but useful way to repurpose the trunk of a 110-year-old cottonwood tree. While cleaning up her yard, Sharalee Armitage Howard noticed that the center of the old tree had died and needed to be cut down because it was becoming a safety hazard.
Instead of removing it all, roots and everything, she had another idea. She kept a good portion of the base of the tree and turned it into a Little Free Library.
Little Free Library is a non-profit organization that promotes and encourages the love of reading through free community book exchanges. People are encouraged to take a book and leave a book to be shared with others. The keeps a constant variety of books going through the “library.”
Little Free Libraries can be found in 88 countries around the world. Each one is unique in their own way, and some are quite fascinating. Most common book exchanges are around the size of a large mailbox. Sharalee’s Little Free Library, though, is slightly bigger than that.
The repurposed tree trunk in front of Sharalee’s house is so big that it easily fit a full-size, glass-paned door and several shelves of books. Winding stone steps lead up to the inviting, expertly-built book exchange.
Beautiful lights inside and out make this the perfect spot to browse through some books. The library showcases some excellent craftmanship – for example, the molding above the entry door is actually several tiny, carved wooden books.
Sharalee shared her idea and progress on her Facebook page. Amazingly, the post was shared over 30,000 times! It is amazing that an old tree stump was able to attract so much attention.
In response, Sharalee posted: “Thanks so much for all of the wonderful feedback about our little free library! It’s awesome to know that there are so many people out there that appreciate how art (in any form) quite simply, makes the world a cooler place to live in.”
This repurposed tree stump definitely raised the bar for other Little Free Libraries around the world. If there were more special landmarks like these, the magic of books would definitely be kept alive. Do you know of any Little Free Libraries near you?