My Very Own Little Free Library


About two years ago I found out about the Little Free Library movement by stumbling upon their hashtag on Instagram.  I did a little bit of research and found out that there was so much good invested in the projects that I wanted a Library of my own.  It just so happened that there was even a Little Free Library in the town where I went to college, so I began stopping by frequently to share books.

For those of you that don’t know, a Little Free Library is ultimately a book swap that’s placed in neighborhoods that could use the help.  The Library is monitored by a person called a Steward, and they make sure the Library is kept up and has appropriate books inside of it.  The Library is registered online in a database so that anyone can find them while out and about.  The Library is free for anyone to use, and you can take a book, leave a book, or just browse the selection on your trip through.  As a teacher and a reading enthusiast, I instantly fell in love with the idea, and the fact that I live in a low income community means that many families wouldn’t be able to afford new books for their children.  While the public library is always available, some students don’t have a means to get to the library, and other people just don’t use it.  By placing these Libraries in communities like mine, literacy is able to be promoted to those that might not be able to have it at home, but it also provides great books for people that just love reading.

So, when I was about to start my student teaching in July of 2014, I figured that I was close enough to adulthood that I would have the time and money to support one of these Libraries.  I got online and looked around and saw that they were much more expensive than I thought to make and on top of that you had to pay for the plaque to make things official if you made one yourself.  After a bit more researching, I found that I would be able to apply for something called a GIFT library, which ultimately means that someone in the world loves reading enough to donate the money to a person to make and promote a Library in their community.  I filled out the GIFT application and two weeks later I heard back from a man named Brendan from Little Free Library.  My application was not accepted, and I was not going to be receiving a Library at this time.  While I was slightly upset, I did realize that some day when I had a house of my own and more financial means to get a Library, I would be able to do it myself.

I didn’t pay much attention to the Library idea for a while, although it was rattling through my mind.  I ended up finishing student teaching, graduating college, and began substitute teaching when I received a phone call from an unknown number on my cell phone right before Christmas in 2014.  I answered pretty hesitantly, but it ended up being Brendan from the Little Free Library again.  He said that he had a GIFT donor that wanted to donate a Library to a possible Steward in Iowa.  My application was still in their system, and he thought that my reasoning for wanting a library meshed with the GIFT donor’s wants, so I was chosen to receive a Library.

At this point I had no idea on a time frame for the Library to make its arrival at my house, of if the GIFT donor had even given the money yet, but at least I was approved, which meant the world to me.  Fast forward a couple of months to February 2015, and I received an email from Brendan again double checking my address because he was going to be packing up and sending my Library to me that day.  He even included a picture of my Library which is at the top of this post.  It’s ocean themed, and I just love it! I can’t wait until it’s at my house and I can start filling it with books to share in the community!


Scholastic Dollar Days Book Sale: Review


For those of you that know me, I’m a HUGE fan of the Scholastic warehouse sales.  I live close enough to Des Moines that I can make a quick trip to the sale on either a weekend or an evening, and I always score great deals for myself, my students, and my daughter.  Most books are only $1-2 and they even have a spot where you can fill a box with books for $24.99.  Last time I went, I had over $300 worth of books in that one box, which is a great deal for any teacher or parent.

When I received an email saying that Scholastic was doing a sale called the “Dollar Days” sale, I was confused because it wasn’t advertised the same way that they advertise the normal warehouse sales.  So I went ahead and signed up, received the same FastPass coupons for some extra savings, and decided to head over after school one day in order to check things out.  Here are my findings, as well as similarities and differences, between a regular warehouse sale and the Dollar Days sale.

When I pulled up to the parking lot of the warehouse, it was much less crowded than it normally is during the sales.  This was the first time that our warehouse was doing a Dollar Days sale, so I was a little concerned about the lack of people present.  When I entered the building, there weren’t as many books, but I still ended up finding some great deals.

If you’re been to a warehouse sale before, you know that the entire warehouse is pretty much open and stocked top to bottom with books that are between discounted at 30% to 90% for teachers and school employees.  This sale was different because it was only set up in the entry to the warehouse, and there wasn’t even an entire aisle of books to look through.  Our selection included several holiday books, activities, and a lot of upper elementary level chapter books.  There wasn’t much for lower elementary or early readers at this sale, but I’m sure it just varies by the warehouse that you use.

All of the books were 50% off, and some of the prices were already severely discounted.  Several books were listed at $1, and some were even as low as 50 cents a piece before the additional percentage off was applied.  I ended up getting an entire box of books in a huge range of levels.  Since we have a 4 year old, we were able to pick up some great hardcover story books, and I also picked up several other chapter books for Michael’s fourth graders.  I had a whole box full of books for $40, which was quite the savings off of what you would pay if you bought the books from the Scholastic flyers every month.

As with every warehouse sale, there was also a FastPass coupon that was able to be used.  This gains you $10 off a purchase of $40 or more, and $25 off a purchase of $100 or more.  I was able to use this and paid only $30 for all of the books that were purchased, which will help refresh Michael’s classroom library, and encourage reading for our daughter.

I’m not sure if I will attend another Dollar Days sale at our warehouse, but I will certainly still shop at the normal warehouse sales which occur in the winter and spring each year.  I’ll probably do a post after my next warehouse trip to share more pictures and information on what a typical warehouse sale looks like for us, as well as information on the Build-A-Box program that they use at the bigger sales.