Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Cedar Cove Book Exchange

 The Cedar Cove Book Exchange

I am a writer. It seems I have always been a writer. I have always enjoyed books. Before I could write, I made up stories for my dolls. By second grade I was penning my own stories. In fact, if you follow my posts or have heard me speak on becoming an author, you know that my first fiction piece was published when I was in second grade. (Okay, it was the school newspaper, but the school housed several classes of each grade… kindergarten to grade eight, so the audience was pretty big for a seven-year-old.) 


And…I am a reader. I think I inherited that gene. My maternal grandfather loved to read and my mother devoured the printed word the way most kids eat corn flakes. I don’t know if Grandpa ever read much by the way of fiction, but I can still see him sitting in a chair on the front porch reading his Bible. I’ve actually known him to read the dictionary! He loved the printed word and he loved to learn.


When Mike and I married and moved to Inverness, Florida, one of the first tasks I completed was getting a local library card. We have a great library here. It isn’t within walking distance, but not too far away. It made me think…


For a while now I have been intrigued by the Little Free Library movement. What a great idea Todd Bol had for book sharing in communities. Books are placed in a protected area. People can borrow a book. It is set up with the notion that if you take a book out, you leave a book in its place for someone else to read.


Mike and I live adjacent to a small 55+ community. (Even though we qualify, we are not members of that community.) However, I walk every day around the area and have met many of the folks who live there. I started talking about the idea of setting up a small lending library for my neighbors. Mike was supportive of the idea. 


I did my research. I could set up a lending library, but if I used the Little Free Library name I had to register it. I felt compelled to protect my little group of neighbors. I didn’t want strangers driving through their small community looking for my book sharing box. Luckily, as I read the guidelines, I don’t have to register the box, if I don’t use the trademarked name.


Our little cove is called Cedar Cove. So my book sharing box is the Cedar Cove Book Exchange. The research was complete. The name was set. My daughter, Allison, designed a label for me to put on the box. 

Now I needed a box.


I tried to find something that would work for me on Facebook’s Marketplace. Mike found someone who would build something for me for $800. You read that right. It was a great idea, but not for that kind of money. I looked at old newspaper stands. The enclosed kind that would stand up to our Florida rains. There was one available that was perfect…in North Carolina. That wasn’t going to happen.


I was at a thrift store one day when I spied what was labeled a “Barbie Doll Town House.” Ten dollars. But this was half off day. Okay, five dollars. I told the worker there I only wanted the roof. The young man took it off, said someone would want the rest, and they sold the roof to me for $2.50. “Half off,” he said. Half off half a house. I didn’t argue.


Now all I needed was a cabinet. I was with my sister-in-law at an antique mall a couple of months later when an old galvanized pie safe caught my eye. I didn’t have the measurements with me for the pink roof so I eyeballed it and bought the thing.


My brother-in-law is the build anything go-to person, so I turned to him. Ronnie was able to attach the roof to the pie safe and he painted the roof blue! It matches our front door. Now that’s cool.


Mike secured the book exchange box to the fence by our mailbox with angle iron and some screws. It looks great and is super sturdy.


So I am ready. I put ten books in the cabinet. I put up a temporary sign. I’ve already told some of the neighbors about it. I’ll make a poster for the community bulletin board next. It’s pretty exciting. 


But the best part? I went out to take a picture of it for this blog post and …there were only nine books inside! 


Happy Reading!



  1. Mary Lou ParsonsMay 3, 2024 at 3:07 PM

    How great! And how wonderful to be known as a book lover in your new community !!

  2. Thank you Mary Lou! It is proving to be a great way to connect!

  3. great idea and so cute


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