DENHAM SPRINGS -- There are more than 90,000 Little Free Libraries across the globe.
Now, there’s one in Livingston Parish.
Sherri and George Bunch are spreading their love for books with the opening of their own Little Free Library in the front yard of their Denham Springs home, marking the first one in Livingston Parish.
Little Free Library is a registered non-profit organization that inspires a love of reading and creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world, according to its website. The concept of the “take a book, share a book” free book exchange operates just like a library, but with no registration or due dates.
Since officially launching in 2010, Little Free Libraries now exist in neighborhoods across the U.S. in standalone cases or boxes that hold books. They’re often found on street corners, parks, or front yards.
Anyone can set up a Little Free Library and personalize it to their liking. With the help of the organization, they can also register it on the website and add it to the official map so book-lovers can find it.
More than 90 countries have Little Free Libraries, and through the program, millions of books are exchanged each year.
After seeing one of the outdoor libraries more than 4,300 miles away, Sherri decided to join the fun.
Sherri said she first learned of the Little Free Library program during a trip to Ireland, where she spotted one outside a local coffee shop. When Sherri returned to Louisiana, she hoped to find a Little Free Library near her.
She never did.
With no Little Free Libraries located anywhere within Livingston Parish — the nearest ones she found were in Baton Rouge — Sherri decided to register for her own. After the organization accepted her request, Sherri and George received the library and a post that they then assembled before slapping on a fresh coat of paint.
And just like that, the Bunch Little Library — Charter #71171 — was officially open for business.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Sherri, who opened her Little Free Library in May.
Sherri and George’s outdoor library, located at the corner of their driveway and Oak Hill Road in Denham Springs, is usually filled with around 60 selections for all ages. Not only does the library contain books, it also holds magazines, audiobooks, bookmarks, games, and puzzles that people can grab any time of the day.
Sherri said she usually keeps a children’s Bible and adult Bible in the library at all times, adding that they’ve “already been through 10 Bibles.” Along with the book selections, Sherri included a guestbook for people to sign whenever they borrow or share a book.
She checks the library every few days to see what’s been taken from her collection — and what’s been added to it.
“We’ve really enjoyed having this,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun just seeing which ones are popular and which ones people want to read most. There’s been one little book that kept coming and going. You could tell everybody in the neighborhood was reading this kid’s book.”
Around the neighborhood, Sherri has become known as “the library lady,” especially to one dinosaur-loving boy who wanted to see more selections featuring his favorite creatures. He’ll soon get his wish, Sherri said.
“I’ll have to tell him there’s a dinosaur book in there now,” she said with a laugh. “He’ll be really excited.”
Most of the books in the library belong to Sherri and George, but they said they’ve received quite a few selections from neighbors, most recently Leila Slimani’s “The Perfect Nanny” and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” as well as copies of “National Geographic” and “Reader’s Digest.”
In the future, Sherri and George plan to incorporate seasonal themes into their library. In December, she hopes to do an ornament exchange that’ll operate the same way as the library — “take an ornament, share an ornament.” She also wants to improve their sign to show what new books are available.
“We’ve had a lot of fun with this,” she said.
For more information about the Little Free Library or how to start your own, visit www.littlefreelibrary.org.