A Recipe for Sparking Conversations between the Generations: Little Free Libraries!


A.) Refurbish one funky cabinet using creativity and found objects

Can you see the possibilities?!

Can you see the possibilities?!





B.) Add FREE books

C.) Place in a community setting in need of said books…

D.) Encourage interaction between young and old

Fall 2013 011If the books you choose are Positive Aging picture books…what you’d have is an adorable Little Free Library all set to spark conversations between the generations!




A personalized box of books on a post—set up in a neighborhood OR in a senior center, an assisted living setting, any setting serving seniors…even a public library!

What good might happen when we combine a sweet and whimsical box of books for the taking and sharing, a few young children, and older adults? Can you imagine?

  • Budding intergenerational friendships
  • Heartfelt discussions about life—as a kid, as an older adult
  • The sharing of real life experiences around historical events
  • A real appreciation of beautiful picture books
  • The breaking down of age stereotypes

339fe41baf2df1fe1b8970c2447b7986Of course it’s not quite as easy as A, B, C, D. (but keep in mind you can buy one from LFL…) In fact, I could use your help. I have the funky cabinet—courtesy of our local Treasure Mart. It even has fake books on the cabinet door.  (Although they may have to go?)


Contemplating the embellishments is as much fun as planning my spring garden. Sea shells? (Of which I have many…)

A mosaic of colorful broken crockery? (Been saving for quite some time.)e1a9df481fc7e92802484dd9dd4020ee



Or merely bright paint (and perhaps a little bling?)

Are you inspired by these examples? I am.

Watch this blog to see just what I come up with.

The basics won’t be too hard. I know the extensive resources on the Little Free Library website will assist me—how to set it up properly…how to register as an official LFL… how to get it on the Little Free Library WORLD WIDE ! map. (Find one near you!)

_461648_origLittle Free Library shares my goal of encouraging conversations between the generations. Co-founders Todd Bols and Rick Brooks are collaborating with AARP and several organizations in the Midwest to pilot this project (along with yours truly at A is for Aging) It is aimed at reducing the isolation of older adults living alone. Read more about the Touch Points project.

I can just imagine families and children, or staff and visiting kids engaging with elders around picture books.

familyWhat’s not to love—beautiful, brightly colored illustrations, text full of insights, and heartwarming relationships between neighbors old and young—like those depicted in:

April 2013 068

Summer 2012 322


 Kiki's Hats Front Cover


Click on titles for my reviews.


Miss Rumphius


I have stacks of picture books–these are some favorites…

So many available resources, but still, perhaps YOU can help us? Might you have some insights on just how to set things up in YOUR organization or YOUR community to encourage the all important interaction between kids and elders?

The most vital pieces are the “steward”—an individual responsible for overseeing the Little Free Library, and of course the “game plan”—a way of assisting the interaction between young and old.

Talk about bling!

Talk about bling!

Very shortly I’ll be reaching out to my public library, a nearby assisted living center, and a community center as my potential collaborators.

I’ll also be checking back with the Summer in the City program in Detroit—I donated the “sister” to my own funky cabinet last fall and they’re excited to set up their first Little Free Library in an under-served neighborhood.

Keep me posted on your thoughts…and please, consider joining in—plant a Little Free Library this spring. Remember, all you need to start is a funky little box of free books…

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See more ideas for serving seniors with Positive Aging picture books.

Find my intergenerational resource list on the A is for Aging website.

Read more about Little Free Libraries on my blog.

Photos courtesy of Little Free Libraries–thanks to Rick Brooks and Todd Bols.

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