Clara Nipper keeps two refurbished newspaper distribution boxes at the curb in front of her property. The boxes, part of the Little Free Library initiative, house books for both adults and children and are free for those passing by to take.
The Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization whose mission of providing access to books for both adults and children began in 2009 in Wisconsin. Since then, more than 25,000 of these DIY libraries have popped up all over the country. Nipper’s Little Free Library was the first in Tulsa.
Nipper began constructing her LFL more than a year ago. Located just down the street from Wright Elementary School, she hopes to attract children who are walking to and from school to partake in LFL’s “take a book, return a book” mission. Her inspiration for participating in the LFL program stems from a love of books and of spending countless hours at Tulsa City-County Library’s Central Library during her childhood years.
“I couldn’t get enough books when I was a small child, and my parents were too busy to chauffeur me to the library often enough,” she recalls. “So one Saturday morning, when I was 7 years old, my father took me by the hand and walked with me from home to the Central Library downtown [Tulsa], a distance of approximately three miles one way. So from then on, I walked to the library by myself as often as I liked and stayed as long as I wanted. … So I know the significance of stories, especially to children. And I want to share that gospel.”
Both children and adults are encouraged to take a book when visiting an LFL. Once finished, they return the book to the library and take another. Books can also be donated to the LFLs by anyone who wishes. LFLs are located throughout the state and, though affiliated with the national organization, run independently. For more information and to view a map of LFL sites, visit www.littlefreelibrary.org.