Guyton Mom Is On a Mission to Build Little Free Libraries

We are running full steam in a time when so much technology abounds and information is available literally at our fingertips. I used to think this was a really good thing. My jobs since college have only existed because of the Internet (web developer, social media manager). But having my son five years ago and watching him immersed in technology at such a young age gave me pause. Maybe it’s all too much too soon.

When I was young, my Pawpaw, Ed Hembree, introduced me to a love of books. His two-car garage at his home in Powder Springs had been converted into a library and office. Three walls had floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with books. I would spend hours at a time in there, just browsing, daydreaming about reading them with him when I was older. When he passed away my senior year of high school, I took as many of his books as I could fit in a box. I wanted nothing else.

It’s no secret that I’m a nerd. Have been my whole life. I love school and learning, I take classes almost year round, and, at 36, am about to finish my master’s degree this December. Through life’s ups and downs, I have found refuge in my one constant companion: books. When I found out I was pregnant in 2010, I didn’t go out and get a cute nursery set, stuffed animal, or any kind of decor. My first purchases for my soon-to-be son were books.

The past two years have been consumed with my school reading, so I’ve not been as diligent as I hoped for my own child, but that is about to change. I want to open him up to the love of reading my Pawpaw gave me, all the adventures that can be taken curled up with a pillow, blanket, and pages. But I don’t want that just for him; I want the chance to inspire other people to take time away from the screen as well.

To commemorate my upcoming graduation, I decided that I wanted to do a project that would have a legacy and the opportunity to make an impact. Having established a Savannah-area animal rescue at age 24 and a shelter for the rescue this past year, I wanted something that might reach others who may not necessarily be full-on animal lovers. I’d been seeing posts from around the country of shelters initiating reading programs with their pets. I love the idea, but couldn’t exactly accommodate that at the moment. So I searched online for some reading programs and discovered Little Free Libraries, and I was hooked.


Because Lisa’s first LFL was at her pet rescue center, she stocked it with books about cats and dogs.

For those who don’t know, Little Free Libraries (LFL) are small, individually built libraries people put in their yards. Neighbors come by, take a book, and later bring a book in exchange. There is no standard for LFL, which is part of the beauty of it: Each LFL steward makes his or hers individually (though you can buy kits through the official website). Many of these are found in areas where libraries are not easily accessible, or may be open only a limited amount of time due to budget cuts. Each LFL is officially registered, and to date, more than 25,000 exist.

I am currently building two LFLs, one to be mobile and one stationary at our shelter, Camp Pawsawhile Retreat. My goal is to have 10 established libraries by the end of 2016, with the hope that others from my organization may be inspired to add their own to our Pawsawhile Trail of libraries. I’m documenting my progress and ideas for others to follow, and the real legacy will be if they do.


Learn More

Little Free Libraries Official Site

Keep up with Lisa’s Little Free Library journey on her blog on the Coastal Pet Rescue website.