After a crazy fall, we decided not to host a Christmas Day friends-who-stayed-in-town dinner for the first time in several years. In thinking how we could do something with our time and freedom other than lay among the wads of wrapping paper, eat, watch football (me), my wife Megan came up with a brilliant idea.
We cleaned out our kids’ bookcases at home, pulling out some of the outgrown, under-read, previous OBOB season books and ended up with two stacks about 16” high. Three kids, a life in books—we have a lot of books, kids and otherwise. Additionally, I went into the PNBA office on Christmas Eve and did a clean out of the 2016 program sample shelves, collecting several dozen more books across every imaginable genre.
We loaded up the back of the van and made a tour of 10 little free libraries within about two miles of our house, some registered and on the map and others we’d noted (and plundered) on walks and bike rides. We packed them all, trying to leave a balanced selection in each.
It was a total blast. Beautiful day, visiting multiple enclaves, watching a couple of elderly ladies out for a Christmas afternoon stroll raid the new stash before we’d even pulled off the curb. One of boxes is actually in a city park, so we had an eight-year-old boy previewing as we shelved our stack, asking us questions as if we were actual librarians and should know every book! A group of neighbors, kids and adults, were also adding to and hanging out in a branch-walled fort, remnants of our recent ice storm, ringing a big tree in the middle of the park, which was really cool.
We’re already thinking about roaming wider into unknown neighborhoods next year.
Brian Juenemann is the executive director of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (PNBA) and writes book reviews for The Register-Guard.