Little Free Library Anniversary

In July we celebrated the fifth anniversary of our Little Free Library. Here are its three locations.

Atchison in Pasadena (with the original LEGO door handle)


Mackay in Palo Alto


Louis in Palo Alto


This year it survived all of our rain and flooding as well as a broken window. It also got a geocache courtesy of some neighbors. LFL 2397 is still going strong!

Rainy February

It’s not news that we’ve had a lot of rain this year. It’s a good thing — California is digging its way out of the drought — but I am over it. February 20th was peak ridiculousness as the storm drain in front of our house backed up and we had a flood. Here’s Bruce out there trying to work on the clog.


The clog wasn’t anywhere we could fix — somewhere further down the line — and it eventually corrected itself. But while there was a giant puddle in front of the library we needed a solution because the cars driving by were spraying the front of the library. Bruce’s tarp did the trick.


Remarkably, even with all this rain, our well-built little library had no leaks. Kudos to Bruce for good construction.

Fourth of July 2016

Our Fourth of July was low energy with almost no pictures, but I’m going to go ahead and do a post anyway. We had the obligatory library flag decoration which was up for a couple of weeks around the holiday and was a big hit with neighbors.


I’d posted it on our library’s Instagram account and got a lot of love. Then the official Little Free Library account picked it up and it got a lot more love. So fun!


The boys built and decorated a Trader Joe’s cookie White House on July 2nd.





And they ate it the next day.

We had planned to attend Palo Alto’s annual chili cook off the afternoon of the Fourth, and then bike over to watch fireworks outside Shoreline Amphitheatre. We did the first activity — good chili and a nice, fairly relaxing atmosphere — but we bailed on the second. Instead, we watched The Sandlot which, surprisingly, none of us had ever seen. Once Finn got over the scary big dog, we all relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

Partway through the movie we heard the Amphitheatre’s (very long) fireworks show from our comfy spots in the living room. That was enough fireworks for us this year.

Our Little Free Library’s Third Home

After two weeks in the house, we had our first real bit of trouble — backed up pipes. There’s always something when you buy a house, but we were more than a little disappointed this time. We had some time to kill as we waited for the plumbers to show up, so Bruce turned our day around by putting up the Little Free Library.


We picked our spot and he dug another large hole for the post. Soon enough, it was up!


The kids at the elementary school across the street found it almost immediately. I’d stocked it with the books from when it was at the other house, as well as many that I’d culled from Ezra and Finn’s collection. About half of the inventory was gone in a couple of days. As usual, people are slow to contribute, but we’ve had a few donations over the last couple of weeks. I think it’s another good location for a library. And, it’s just one of many on our street!

Christmas LFL 2015

This year our LFL Christmas ornament got a little extra oomph when Bruce installed a string of solar LED lights. It looked fantastic!


Of course, I shared it on social media of all types. The official Little Free Library account re-shared it on Instagram and Facebook and it got a whole lotta love …


Over 1,000 likes! And the comments were very nice.

I also did the annual Flipagram of the weekly photos which is always fun.

Halloween Little Free Library

Our Little Free Library got the usual Halloween facelift this year: our original embellishment, the pumpkin.


I thought that would probably be all because we no longer have our grand old palm trees to hang our giant spider web from, but, as usual, my engineer husband had a different idea. He stewed about it for a while and finally came up with a way to recreate the web, albeit, a bit smaller and a different shape. At least no pulleys in the trees were necessary.




It turned out pretty good!


Little Free Library Clear Out

This post is woefully out of order, but lately I’ve seen a few posts from fellow LFL stewards who are having trouble with people taking all of the books from their libraries. I never wrote about our troubles with this in July 2013, but I’d like to have a record of what we did about it, so I’m writing this post now.

Overall, we have had a fabulous time as stewards of the library. We’ve occasionally had people take out all the hard cover books but really once they stopped taking off the R2D2 handle (well, we actually just replaced it with something less tempting after two thefts), we haven’t had any other trouble.

But in July 2013 we had about a week of someone clearing out the entire library. It’s a little jarring to go out to check on the books only to find this:


We had great neighbors and friends who replenished the books when we put out a call that this emptying had happened and the library rebounded quickly.



And then, sadly, it happened again.


After a week, we put up a note:


We still have no idea who was doing it, but it never happened again after we put up the note (which we took down after a few days). And this is a more typical picture of our library’s inventory.


Library Reinstall

This weekend we finished a task I’ve been looking forward to — reinstalling our Little Free Library at our new house. Last weekend we found our plaque which we thought might have been lost in the move since it wasn’t with the library when it came off the truck. I may be a little irrationally emotional about this library; finding the plaque brought me to tears.


We spent much of Saturday morning running around getting supplies — wood for the new post, gravel for the hole, etc. When we finally had everything, we split into skilled and unskilled labor. I [unskilled] dug the hole. My first experience with the post-hole digger.


Bruce [skilled, of course] MacGyvered a solar garden light into its parts to fit in the library. Let’s just say there was soldering and hot glue involved, not to mention a recycled peanut butter jar lid.



And he built a new post.


Eventually (hours later than we had imagined … where are the kids anyway?) we were ready to install.

And fill with books!


And the light works!


So fun to be back in the library business. I’m picking up where I left off taking regular (daily-ish) pictures of the books inside and posting them on Instagram here. Follow if you’re interested!

Library Removal

In anticipation of our move, Bruce and I discussed at length whether we should leave our Little Free Library for the new owners or take it with us. In the end, I just couldn’t leave it behind. So, on January 5th we took it down and put up this sign.


Not surprisingly, we had lots of neighbors greet us with shocked looks after they saw the sign. No one — including us — expected we’d ever move.

Luckily for our neighborhood of voracious readers, there is another LFL right down the block. Here’s one last picture of our treasure in its original home.


We hope to install it soon in our new place.

Little Free Library Scarecrow

Our neighborhood had a scarecrow “contest” this Fall and encouraged everyone to put up some kind of scarecrow decoration. Of course, we thought it would be fun to incorporate our library, so after some discussion of logistics we set about making one to sit on top.



We thought he should be reading a book, so then we had to decide which one. It wasn’t that hard of a choice. Luckily we could get the original artwork on the intergoogles.


And my very talented husband could recreate it.


After the cutout …


And some finishing touches …


He was ready to go up!




4th of July Library

Last month we felt like dressing up our Little Free Library, so we decided to do a new decoration for the 4th of July (in mid-June). After finding a picture we liked of a wavy American flag, Bruce set about doing his magic.

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Of course, as usual we had some side projects going on at the same time.

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Bruce decided this time to paint the whole flag and then cut out the middle for the library. Measure twice, cut once.

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After a few touch-ups it was ready to go. Finn helped with the mounting.

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Here’s the finished product.

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Library Update

Our Little Free Library got a boulder seat a few weeks ago when we decided to take out a boulder from the backyard and it needed a new home. All three Moision boys worked very hard to get it to just the right place.


Also, I started an Instagram account of daily photos of what’s in the library. It wasn’t my idea but when my friend Allen suggested it, I couldn’t resist. Check in here if you like.

Christmas Little Free Library

Ever since our Little Free Library got its Halloween facelift, we’ve been thinking about what we could do for Christmas. Finn wanted to make it into an acorn, which is cute but doesn’t exactly say Christmas. We also thought about a Christmas tree or Santa, but settled on an ornament. Yesterday Bruce set about making it happen.

Cutting and drilling



Hot glue gun

We put the first pass up yesterday evening and it just seemed like it wasn’t quite right.

First pass ... not quite right

It didn’t have as much pop as we were hoping for, the cap looked too small and the wire hook, while cute, was obscured by the trees.

So, we Googled ornament images to come up with some type of embellishment. We settled on snowflakes.


Bruce then made the cap bigger and ditched the wire for wood covered in silver tape.

New cap

A little glitter on the snowflakes was the finishing touch.

Snowflakes and new cap

This morning Take 2 was up.

Take 2

Much, much cuter!

Long shot

Merry Christmas!


Our Library Gets a Facelift

Yesterday Bruce had a brilliant idea to dress up our Little Free Library for Halloween. He mocked up a pumpkin in cardboard and today built it for real.

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The boys helped a bit — Finn with the paint.

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Then we waited for it to dry.

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When it was ready, Ezra carried it over to the library.

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And Bruce and I set about installing it.

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Of course, we had to move the sign so it was still visible.

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And then it was done!

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Happy Halloween a few weeks early!