Little Free Library: Neighborhood Destination, Belmont CA

Redwood City LFL, photo by John Barrows

I feel somewhat isolated living in an apartment complex, nestled alongside other complexes built on the side of a hill in Belmont, CA. I love to walk but am challenged when I walk out my front door. The hill I’m immediately confronted with is the neighborhood equivalent of Yosemite’s Half Dome. So rather than walk around here I often drive to places that are flat to get my exercise.

Yesterday my husband alerted me to the fact that there are random tiny libraries popping up in local neighborhoods. He found one in Redwood City, CA in someone’s front yard. It’s a box with a sleek modern look mounted on a post. The sides are clear so you can get a great look at the books inside!

He recalled seeing another one of these structures in our neighborhood, just across the busy main street that cuts through the hill and then back onto an off street. My interest was piqued. I looked the spot up on Google Maps. It wasn’t too far away, walking distance, I hoped it was flat terrain all the way.

I put my raincoat on as it has been a drizzly couple of days, eased open the umbrella and took off across the street. The wet sky, smell of cut grass and forest trees made me think I was tramping into a mystical world.

Eva's Dream Home, photo by Eva Barrows
Eva’s Dream Home, photo by Eva Barrows

I passed construction workers building a foundation in a pit where a new home would soon sprout. Only half of the homes had sidewalks, so I had to walk in the street most of the way, making the path seem even more rural. I ambled by my dream house and swooned. It reminded me of something out of Anne of Green Gables.

Belmont LFL, photo by Eva Barrows
Belmont LFL, photo by Eva Barrows

Finally, I approached something on a post that wasn’t a mailbox. I had found the Little Free Library in someone’s side yard. I felt funny standing there in the street gawking at this tiny structure. I took a few pictures of it and hoped no one was watching me from a window as I checked it out. I opened the little door and smelled the wood interior. There was a book in there by Sarah Vowell that I’ve read, The Wordy Shipmates.

I didn’t take any books because one, I have way too many books already and two I didn’t bring a book to exchange. To participate in the Little Free Library, you’re supposed to exchange one of your books for one of their books so that they don’t run out of books! It’s not enforced but still I would feel bad if the library was depleted.

In my search for the Little Free Library, I not only found the structure I was looking for but I also discovered a whole other area of my neighborhood that happens to be on flat walkable land.

Do you have a Little Free Library in your neighborhood?

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4 thoughts on “Little Free Library: Neighborhood Destination, Belmont CA”

  1. Yes, we have a wonderful one here in Carmel, California and I love to fill it with novels and memoirs from indie publishers. If you send me instructions on how to post a photo, I’ll send you the most recent book collection in our Little Free Library!

    1. Hi Diana! I bet the Little Free Library in your area is cute 🙂 You can email me the image and I’ll put it in the body of my blog post. I look forward to checking it out.

  2. Hi Eva,

    Cool article! The LFL I know of is at the Redwood City County Center where I got married and where the SMC Park head quarters and courthouse is. I used to stop there when I had to go to drop off things for work, its pretty neat and in a high traffic area so the books get changed a lot. That would be a cool thing to start in the harbor where my boat is I think.

    1. Hi Sasha!
      That would be cool if there was a tiny library at your boat harbor. I’ve read that there’s a trend of turning canoes into little libraries. Maybe an old dinghy would work?

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