Member Stories

Santa Cruz Neighbors Get Reading with a Little Free Library

Written by Isabella Levin

Some neighborhoods come together over block parties or town hall meetings – but for this Santa Cruz community, it’s books that are bringing neighbors together.

The little free library, which is attached to the front fence of Renee Roe and Ian Conlon’s home, is a miniature three-story library, complete with a metal roof and surfboard-shaped door handles. The books on its shelves are adventures waiting to take neighbors into lands of mystery, science fiction, and romance, catering to young adults and children alike.

The couple built the library to take their own spin on the little free library movement with the motto of “take a book, return a book.” Conlon designed their library himself to match the design of the fence that surrounds their home.

“I love books. They take you everywhere and they’re like your best friends,” said Conlon. “To share that with other people, if they can get that same experience – it’s so easy to leave this place and all your troubles and get involved in a book.”

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Ian and Renee in front of their community’s little free library.

To spread the word about the library and increase their supply of books when they run low, Roe resorts to Nextdoor. It’s also been a great way fort them to engage with members of their community. The little library has also helped make a statement about their neighborhood’s community values and appreciation of books.

“People do slow down and say, ‘what is that over there. It looks like it’s inviting,’” Roe said. “I think, really, we’ve seen all ages. I always feel like, go ahead, take a couple. Just remember us if you have a chance and bring some back.”

Since launching the little library four years ago, Roe has met people from far and wide – including neighbors from around the block and visitors from as far away as Japan.

To learn more about little free libraries, click here.


Join your neighborhood on Nextdoor here.

Do you have a story about how you’ve used Nextdoor in your neighborhood? Let us know.

As originally covered by the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

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