It’s a library with only one shelf, no hold system, no due dates and a 20-book capacity.
Four months have passed since Betty Ann Addison erected a plexiglass-doored wooden box in her front yard—something between a birdhouse and a mailbox—stocked it with a hodgepodge of books and painted the words “little free library” on the side with a dainty hand.
The lending library has taken off, with Fridley residents borrowing and donating books from a variety of genres—cookbooks, paperback novels, children’s books, to name a few. On a recent visit, you could find Barack Obama’s campaign trail memoir, “The Audacity of Hope” next to the colorful children’s title “Elmo’s Garden,” a Robert Ludlum thriller and a book all about Yorkshire terriers.
“The neighbors have adopted it,” Addison said. “People stop by that I don’t even know, and we get to know the neighborhood that way. The main thing is about building community.”
Addison said she read about the idea of a community lending library in the Star Tribune and that it started in Stillwater and has spread all over the country.
She supplements the library every other Tuesday with books she buys at Savers.
A favorite recent library read of Addison’s was “Snow Falling on Cedars,” a 1994 David Guterson novel, which, as she noted, was a New York Times bestseller.
“These are not all stuffy books,” she said. “These are books that people would recommend to their friends.”
Addison said she expects library traffic to increase this summer as the weather warms and walkers wander. She said she believes they’ll be attracted to the solar-powered light that illuminates the sign at night.
“It’s got a bench, and that’s kind of important so people can sit down and set books on the bench while they look it over,” she said. “It makes it more comfortable.”
Addison's library is located in the front yard of her home at 1315 66th Ave. NE, Fridley.