In 2019, many book lovers are more likely to grab their Kindles and head to a chic café than visit their local library.
That means nonprofit organizations like Little Free Library, which work to build and rejuvenate libraries worldwide, have to get creative.
Thus, the “Little Tree Library”: an enchanting library carved out of a 110-year-old cottonwood tree.
Sharalee Armitage Howard created the Little Tree Library in her own front yard. As a librarian herself, she understands the importance of a cozy, beautiful reading environment.
“We had to remove a huge tree that was 110 years old, so I decided to turn it into a library (which I’ve always wanted),” Sharalee wrote on Facebook.
She added a roof to the tree stump, carved out the inside, and added a door and lighting. Inside, there are shelves full of books available to borrow for free.
Unfortunately, the tree isn’t big enough to actually go inside. Still, just looking at it is enough to make you feel all warm and fuzzy!
Sharalee Armitage Howard is a librarian, artist, and former bookbinder.
In December, Sharalee shared one of her most impressive projects yet: She created a library out of a huge tree stump in her front yard.
The stump came from a 110-year-old cottonwood tree, which had to be removed from the property because it was rotting and becoming dangerous.
Rather than just raze it completely, Sharalee turned it into something much, much better.
She added an adorable roof to the stump, as well as a lighting fixture and a stairway. Then she carved out the inside and built shelves and a door.
Inside, you’ll find free books available to borrow.
There’s a smattering of books available, including adult fiction, children’s books, and others.
And no, you don’t need a library card to access these books!
The Little Free Library project encourages people to build similar miniature libraries like this all around the world. Over 75,000 libraries in 88 countries have been created so far.
The libraries are essentially free book exchanges. Anyone can take out books from the shelves, and anyone can donate books. You don’t have to return the exact book that you take, either.
“Little Library book exchanges function on the honor system; everyone contributes to ensure there are always quality books inside,” the website explains. “This way, we all win!”
Like all Little Free Libraries, Sharalee’s adorable tree is much too small to actually hang out in and read. Still, the projects encourage people to pick out actual physical books and explore their neighborhoods.
They also speak to the power of libraries, which facilitate learning at absolutely no cost to citizens.
In a world where Amazon Prime rules the literary scene and libraries are often underfunded, these seemingly small projects matter.
And the Little Tree Library has got to be one of the most gorgeous miniature libraries yet!
If you happen to live in the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, area, you might discover the tree library in person. If not, you can check to see which Little Free Libraries are located in your own neighborhood.
Sharalee’s Facebook post about her project has been shared over 102,000 times. People can’t get enough of this magical little library.
Some joked about how unusual it is to find books inside a formerly rotting tree, of all places. There are a lot of puns to be made here!
One Facebook user pointed out how the tree itself looks like it’s part of a storybook. The beauty of it will undoubtedly encourage passersby to read.
And best of all, Sharalee isn’t quite done with it yet.
Come spring, she plans to “plant groundcover and cheerful perennials around it, touch up the paint, and fine-tune the trimwork.”
If only there were a Little Tree Library in every neighborhood!