My Little Free Library Dream

My dream came true.

I am now a steward of a Little Free Library!

Ever since the movement started in 2012, I’ve been captivated by the idea. I longed to build and manage my own little library. Whenever I read a good book, my first thought is – Everyone should read this!

When I read something that really shifts my heart, I think, “If everyone would read this book, the world would be better.”

Little Free Libraries are an opportunity to share those messages. To put books into hands that just might make their way into hearts. All my life, books have been a lifeline, inspiration, friend, teacher, comfort. I don’t think a single day has ever gone by that I didn’t read at least a page or two, but most days much more.

I start every day reading. I fix a cup of tea and settle in with my pile of books, my journal, and a pen. I am working my way through five books at the moment, reading a piece of each as I sip tea on my porch serenaded by birds. Some inspire, some teach, and one challenges me so much that I have to wait until after the caffeine has hit its mark, to open it. I underline (or on my kindle, highlight) words that are beautiful, inspiring, or unique. Here are a few lines from this morning in the book, Mothertrucker by Amy Butcher:

“…it’s dogs, not men, women should spend their time rescuing.”

“…a lack of love is just as dangerous as anything else this world presents.”

“I think of how the universe throws us lifelines when we don’t yet realize we are drowning.”

I look forward to this reading hour, as I hustle the dogs around the block and wait for my tea to brew. It’s a rich time of day for me.

The quiet as the rest of the house slumbers is the best company. (Except for the dogs who pile on, causing me to spill my tea or lose my page).

This time of year, when I read outside, in between pages, I observe the patterns of neighbors—the young man who hustles up the street with his hoodie pulled tight, eyes on the ground, making his way to the Citgo station for a tall orange can of what I imagine is straight caffeine (judging by the speed of his hustle as he heads back up the street chugging it). I listen to my other neighbor hurrying her preteen out the door to drive to school. And on Wednesday mornings, I watched as the trash truck pauses in front of our house. Its big mechanical arm picks up our can and dumps it in the truck, like a bride flinging her bouquet over her head.

My day is bookended by books. Before I go to bed, I spend a half-hour, sometimes longer, with a novel, falling asleep to stories. I’m reading An American Marriage by Tayari Jones at the moment. LOVE this book. Her writing is addictive. I can’t wait to find all her other books. I think about her characters Roy and Celestial and Andre during the day as I walk the dogs or wash dishes or play with the foster kitties. They are so real to me that I wonder what they are doing while the book is closed on my nightstand.

Books and reading time are sacred to me. When people tell me they ‘don’t read’, I’m sad for them. I think of all they are missing, and I worry for their souls. Having a Little Free Library gives me the opportunity to temp others to give books a chance. Who can pass up something for free? I want everyone to discover the magic of books.

After we put up our Little Free Library, I waited and watched. At first, people glanced at it in passing, but no one stopped to look inside. So, I painted the motto of the Little Free Libraries on the front—Take a Book, Share a Book.

And that very afternoon, three children’s books disappeared. And then yesterday, two novels. And then a young adult nonfiction book. I can’t tell you the joy it brings me. Crazy, sure. But to my mind there’s no better gift to give my new community than books.

There are more than X free libraries in the world. You can find all of them on the Little Free Library map. There’s even an app for Little Free Libraries so you can find one wherever you travel!

And if that travel brings you to Woodstock, Virginia, I hope you look through our collection and find a book that speaks to your heart.

Hey, thanks for reading. I know you’ve got lots of options, so thanks for sharing a few of your minutes with me.



p.s. Most of you know about the nonprofit I co-founded, Who Will Let the Dogs Out. I’m leaving on another shelter tour this Monday to visit seven shelters in six states. I’d be honored if you’d follow along on Facebook or Instagram. You can learn more about our plans in the blog post, and find links to all we are up to (or to make a donation) here.

My latest novel, Blind Turn is a mother-daughter story of forgiveness in the aftermath of a fatal texting and driving accident. Learn more about it and find out how to get your copy here.

If you’re curious about what else I’m up to, check out my website,

If you’d like to subscribe to my (sometimes) monthly e-newsletter, click here.

And If you’re a dog lover, check out my other blog, Another Good Dog. And if you want to know what is really happening in the animal shelters in this country, visit, Who Will Let the Dogs Out.

I’d love to connect with you on Facebook, twitter, or Instagram, and I’m thrilled to get email from readers (and writers), you can reach me at

My book, 100 Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues was released July 2020 from Pegasus books and is available anywhere books are sold, but if you’d like some help finding it (or want to read some lovely reviews), click here.

Author: Cara Sue Achterberg

I am a writer, blogger, and dog rescuer. I live in the darling town of Woodstock, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley with my husband and three rescue dogs (who rescue me on a daily basis). Find more information about my books, my dogs, and all my writing adventures at

2 thoughts on “My Little Free Library Dream”

  1. I have wanted to do that here since I moved here. Yours is the most appealing I’ve ever seen. I just need help building it. I get all those books from the contest and I’d love to share them this way. I don’t read very much — maybe because the contest judging and all those years grading papers made me into a different kind of reader as well as having to read and revise my own work. The last novel I read was yours!

    But I found recently that if I’m interested in a subject, I read. I just got a book written by a guy in the 12th century about making paint and I was through that thing with complete concentration and interest. So… While I’m basically a writer, not a reader, if the subject is right I’m on it!


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