Sharalee Howard’s Little Free Library is made from a tree

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A huge black cottonwood tree in the front yard of Sharalee Armitage Howard’s home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, was dying. So, Sharalee took some radical action: she transformed the tree into a Little Free Library.

Little Free Libraries are based on the concept of “take a book, share a book”. It’s a principle close to Sharalee’s heart. She is a librarian, artist and bookbinder. She had always wanted to create a little free library space in her neighborhood.

That’s why Sharalee was inspired to turn the dying black cottonwood tree into a small neighborhood library. Ten feet of the tree’s stump have been preserved and converted into a cozy, Hobbit-like book space.

The tree was more than 100 years old. Because the tree was dying, it was no longer safe. So, Sharalee had the treetop, with all its leaves and branches, removed. This left a ten-foot section of trunk still embedded in the ground.

Sharalee hollowed out the structure and added a wooden shingle roof to make the space watertight. A glass door was added to the trunk, through which the library shelves can clearly be seen. The door frame has been meticulously decorated with small wooden books emblazoned with classic titles such as Call of the wild and Little women.

The dying tree trunk was thus transformed into an amazing Little Free Library. Now, instead of providing shade, the tree will share books.

There are more than 75,000 little free libraries registered around the world, thanks to the Little Free Library project. The project is a non-profit organization based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Its mission is to be a catalyst for building community, inspiring readers, and expanding book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led Little Free Libraries.

Many of these amazing spaces are carved from trees – although Sharalee’s Little Free Library is a particularly special example.

Want more inspiration?

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