Some books in a birdhouse: Our lil’ free libraries


Madelyn Carlson

A Decatur resident participates for the first time in the come-and-go of the Free Libraries. She was so excited she dropped the book.

“Bring a book, take a book,” Rog Wagner said, one of the main builders and designers of the Free Little Libraries in Decatur.

With a dollar and twenty-nine cents and a collection of recycled and donated materials, Decatur’s first Little Free Library was built. A miniature house with a roof and glass door, it sits on a post and can hold about 20 books.

The system is self explanatory, the Little Free Libraries are a place where books come and go. As Wagner instructed, community members take and replace their novels, picture books, dictionaries, journals and more. These libraries have brought Decatur residents together, and have encouraged reading.

“The other day, I checked out the selection in there so far…my neighbors have great taste in books,” Susan Puckett said, a Decatur resident. “Tonight I am planning to take a book in exchange for “Three Cups of Tea” if it’s still in there….”

Inspiration for the Little Free Libraries came from an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It was a story about the first on the now three lil’ libraries built around Decatur. Less common in the south, these libraries have spread out across the nation. The library on Wilton Drive says it’s number 838.

“My daughter has absolutely loved the Free Little Libraries. She comes home from school and the first thing she does is run over and check out to see what books came,” Natalie Roberts said, Decatur resident with a five year old daughter. “It’s like Christmas, except more educational.”

Rog Wagner fills the third lil’ library in Decatur with his books. A crowd of community members watch and cheer as he finishes. Photo credit: Ralph Ellis. See the full story on