Librarian Honors a Dying Tree by Turning It Into a Little Free Library

And then she said to Anni­ka, “Why don’t you feel in that old tree stump? One prac­ti­cal­ly always finds things in old tree stumps.” 

- Pip­pi Long­stock­ing, Astrid Lind­gren 

Remem­ber that oth­er clas­sic of chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture, where­in a boy runs from the city to a seclud­ed moun­tain, tak­ing up res­i­dence in an old tree he hol­lows into a cozy shel­ter?

Pub­lic librar­i­an and artist Shar­alee Armitage Howard’s Lit­tle Free Library is a bit like that, except there was no run­ning involved.

When the ven­er­a­ble and ail­ing cot­ton­wood in her Coeur d’Alene front yard began drop­ping branch­es on cars parked below, Howard faced the inevitable. But rather than chop the tree even with the ground, she arranged with the removal crew to leave a con­sid­er­able amount of stump intact.

Then, in a Pip­pi Long­stock­ing-ish move, she filled it with books for her neigh­bors and strangers to dis­cov­er.

The inte­ri­or has a snug, wood­land vibe, wor­thy of Beat­rix Pot­ter or Ali­son Utt­ley, with tidy shelves, soft light­ing, and a shin­gled roof to pro­tect the con­tents from the ele­ments.

Ever since Decem­ber, when Howard post­ed pho­tos to social media, the fairy­tale-like struc­ture has been engen­der­ing epic amounts of glob­al good­will.

What a beau­ti­ful way to pre­serve and hon­or a tree that stood for well over a cen­tu­ry.

One of the few naysay­ers is Red­dit user dis­cern­ing­per­vert, who is per­haps not giv­ing voice to the Lorax, so much as Thalia, Muse of Com­e­dy, when he writes:

It’s like a house of hor­rors for trees. Inside the corpse of their for­mer com­rade are the processed rem­nants of their tree­broth­ers and treesisters.

A lit­er­al Tree­house of Hor­ror…

Vis­it Howard’s Lit­tle Free Library (char­ter #8206) the next time you’re in Ida­ho. Or install one of your own.

(Those with trees to throw at the cause may want to begin with the stump hol­low­ing tuto­r­i­al below.)

via Twist­ed Sifter

Relat­ed Con­tent:

RIP Todd Bol, Founder of the Lit­tle Free Library Move­ment: He Leaves Behind 75,000 Small Libraries That Pro­mote Read­ing World­wide

Free Libraries Shaped Like Doc­tor Who’s Time-Trav­el­ing TARDIS Pop Up in Detroit, Saska­toon, Macon & Oth­er Cities

Grow­ing Up Sur­round­ed by Books Has a Last­ing Pos­i­tive Effect on the Brain, Says a New Sci­en­tif­ic Study

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  See her onstage in New York City in Feb­ru­ary as host of  The­ater of the Apes book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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  • Moira Johnson says:

    What a love­ly refur­bish­ment for a state­ly old tree. Libraries make the world a bet­ter place.The cre­ator should take a “bough” for this lit­tle “branch” library.

  • Bill W. says:

    Cool idea! How­ev­er, it’s only a mat­ter of time before the local Code Inspec­tor or zon­ing-board comes after her. Big Gov­ern­ment in too many places doesn’t like peo­ple com­pet­ing against their pub­lic libraries!

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