Little Free Libraries in Takoma

Takoma Park Library

Little Free Libraries in Takoma

A Conversation with Ken Samson

There is no shortage of ways to find a good book to read in the Takoma Park neighborhood. You can visit your local branch of the DC Public Library, where there are books for check out and donated books for purchase, and you can also pop by one of the many Little Free Libraries that have sprung up in the area.

You may have noticed some of these little libraries all around the city: Built like a one-room schoolhouse or a barn, anyone is welcome to take a book and leave a book. But who builds these things?

I recently spoke to a local man who does, Mr. Ken Samson.

How did you become involved with Little Free Libraries?

The LFL project first began in Wisconsin, where my girlfriend is from. She told me about them, and showed me articles published about them. I became involved after seeing some of them myself on a visit to Wisconsin. ​

I put up ours here on Aspen Street NW, in March 2012, the first to be planted in the Takoma area.  

What do you enjoy about building and maintaining Little Free Libraries?

I enjoy the painting and decorating of the libraries the most, to give them each an individual character. ​I also enjoy the opportunity to recycle random pieces by using them as decorative elements.

How many Little Free Libraries have you built?

I have built three so far, but this weekend we are doing a dozen of them together as a team build.

What kinds of books have you stocked your libraries with?

I've put all sorts of fiction and non-fiction for adults, young adults and children in them. I make regular rounds to the libraries I know about that have since sprung up all around the area, and stock them up with books of all kinds. This past year I keep finding new LFLs by random chance as I have driven around Takoma Park, and each one is a pleasant surprise to discover.

The concept has really taken off in Takoma since I planted the first few, but this does not surprise me, given the type of sharing community we enjoy here.  There will soon be many more springing up, thanks to this weekend's build.

Are you planning on building more Little Free Libraries?

Absolutely. I would love to have an annual or even twice-annual build of a dozen or so little free libraries ​with the help of community partners and volunteers, like the one we're doing this weekend at the Community Forklift, which is sponsoring, and the volunteer groups Edmonston Green team and Eco-City Farms, who will have over a dozen volunteers both Saturday and Sunday.

Six of these LFLs will be planted in locations around Edmonston, Md., and the other six will come with me back to Takoma, D.C. and Takoma Park, Md.


To learn more about the Little Free Library movement visit http://littlefreelibrary.org/#

If you are interested in collaborating with Mr. Samson to build a Little Free Library in your area, email him at samsonkg@gmail.com.