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Little Free Libraries Make Road Trips Fun for Kids

by Barbara Rogers

Aug 25, 2023

© Raisa Nastukova | Dreamstime.com

Travel Tips

Engaging children in a family road trip can be a challenge, so parents often concentrate on keeping backseat passengers amused with games and activities. These focus their attention inside the car instead of on the places you travel.


Games like I Spy and alphabet hunts encourage kids to look outside, but for kids old enough to read or enjoy picture books, searching for Little Free Public Libraries is a game that can last an entire trip. And after spotting one, the books they find can keep them occupied as you travel.


Little Free Libraries are small boxes by the side of streets and roads, in parks, in front of public buildings and in neighborhood front yards. The idea is you can take any book you want for free. It is also understood you will add a book to the library if you can.


Children can leave home with a bag of outgrown books, trading these for new ones as they travel. Not all these libraries have children’s books, but, in our experience, most do. If there are none, encourage kids to leave one so the next child will find something to read. Leaving books is part of the fun. Maybe leave a note in the book to tell the next reader why you liked it.


Litte Free Libraries are often found in front of public libraries, sometimes near tourist or historical attractions, and often in village centers of small towns. City parks are favorite sites, but many are in someone’s front yard. You’ll find them scattered throughout cities, too — Minneapolis, where the Little Free Library organization is based, has more than a dozen.


In mid-sized towns, you can often find several within walking distance, a good excuse to explore a town. Brattleboro, Vermont, for example, has three in neighborhoods within a five-minute walk of Main Street.


You can search the Little Free Library map or use the app to locate libraries, but it’s more of a treasure hunt without the map, and encourages kids to look out the windows. You can use the map and app yourself to make sure your route takes you along the street where they’ll find one.


The treasure hunt needn’t be just about children’s books; browse through the selection to find some vacation reading for yourself.


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