Little Free Libraries

A Novel Idea In Our Community

By Kathleen Maca
Free Libraries 

Galveston is lucky to have wonderful libraries and bookstores, but when the recent temporary closings due to the Covid pandemic took place, the community discovered the option of “Little Free Libraries” across the Island.

In the simplest terms, they are wooden boxes mounted on posts and filled with books. But the effect they can have on creating community engagement, promoting literacy, and spreading joy is an opportunity much grander than their tiny appearances suggest.

Little Free Libraries are book-sharing boxes that operate on the honor system, requesting that visitors “take a book, return a book.” They create a way to connect with neighbors who want to share their love of reading, pass along a specific book they enjoyed, or widen their horizons by reading a donation from someone else.

They can be spotted across the Island in front of homes, outside of storefronts and churches, and along walking paths. They are constructed in designs as varied as their caretakers, who are referred to as “stewards.”


The cost of becoming a steward of a little free library depends on whether the owner builds the structure themselves or purchases a kit from the official Little Free Libraries website.

Creative types who want to design something unique might spend $5 for recycled materials, or $150 for new lumber and hardware. Regardless of which materials are used, it is imperative that they are sturdy and weatherproof enough to stand up to the island climate and protect the books inside from rain.

Library LocationsKits purchased through the Little Free Libraries website start around $250 and include materials to build the box. Alternatively, a one-time, $40 registration fee will assign any little library a charter number and an engraved plate to attach to the box. The post and hardware are not included in the kits, but kits do automatically include a number and plate. The unique number may then be added to the searchable, online world map of little library locations.

Designs around Galveston include colorful versions of the classic kit, Victorian motifs echoing the homes they accompany, fun beachy themes, and some divided into adult and children’s book selections.

Finding the little libraries across the Island makes a fun scavenger hunt activity for families as well. Children can be encouraged to take some of their gently used books to share along the way. Each box is unique, and one especially fun find is “guarded” by chicken neighbors.

Please be respectful and do not force books in a library that is already full. There is surely another one nearby that has room for your donations.

Whether a little library is constructed to create a gathering point, honor someone special, provide for those who may not be able to otherwise afford books of their own, or just for the love of reading, they are a great addition to the Island.

To find a Little Free Library near you, or learn more about creating your own, visit