At the edge of the Hartt family’s front yard is a small model of a blue school house filled with books.
A sign welcomes passersby to take a book, leave one or sit down and read. It’s the family’s Little Free Library.
The library was meant to be a summer service project, said Robyn Hartt, who enlisted help from her children, 14-year-old Brandon and 11-year-old Amy. But it’s also a tool for learning and bringing the Wake Forest neighborhood closer together.
“I’m a big believer in reading, and I always thought it would be great to have a Little Library,” Hartt said.
The project is Wake Forest’s second Little Free Library, which is filled with books for visitors to borrow or take. They can also donate books. The first Little Free Library in town is in the Heritage community.
Little Free Libraries started in Wisconsin in 2009 when a former teacher built a small model of a schoolhouse and filled it with books. He encouraged neighbors to take a book and read.
Since then, Little Free Libraries have popped up all over the world.
There are about 28 registered Little Free Libraries in Wake County, according to the movement’s website.
The international organization allows people to buy pre-made libraries, but the Hartts wanted to build their own.
Brandon took the lead on materials and some of the more labor-intensive work. Amy organized the books.
Robyn Hartt provided rides to home improvement stores and roughly $350 to buy materials.
Amy and Brandon have always enjoyed reading, their mother said.
“I really believe education is important to be successful in life,” Hartt said. “You can read about anything. It can open up your whole world.”
Brandon, a freshman at Heritage High School, said the library is useful for everyone. It’s fun and can be helpful for school-age children.
It also gives back to the community, Hartt said.
“I love Wake Forest,” she said. “I think this has been the best thing for us, and it makes you want to do things for others.”
The Hartts moved to Wake Forest about two years ago from Los Angeles.
Robyn Hartt said the family moved because they thought Los Angeles was dangerous and it was tough to do projects like the Little Free Library.
In Wake Forest, the family hopes the library will give them a chance to meet more neighbors. So far, the family has seen some neighborhood children visit the library, and they’re happy to welcome more.
“(We can meet more neighbors) if they come over here and pick a book out,” Brandon said.
Find a library
Search for the closest Little Free Library at www.littlefreelibrary.org.