Little Free Libraries
What is a Little Free Library?
It’s a “take a book, return a book” gathering place where neighbours share their favourite books and literature. In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone can stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share.
(Launches an interactive map)
Why have a Little Free Library?
- Can be a neighbourhood gathering place.
- A local place where neighbours can meet and get to know one another.
- Provides a way for people to give to their community.
Promote Reading and Literacy
- It’s always nice to read a book recommended by others.
- Having a Little Free Library in your neighbourhood is cool!
- Kids can participate by sharing their favourite books and reading some of the treasures left by others.
How do you start a Little Free Library?
- Review our library guidelines and apply online below.
- Visit littlefreelibrary.org to get ideas and plans, and to see the global impact of Little Free Libraries.
Little Free Library Guidelines
The City of St. Albert supports residents who want to connect with their neighbours through the Little Free Library initiative. Little Free Libraries may be located on private property, such as a homeowner’s front yard, or public property such as a boulevard, a green space or a park. The initial steps to starting a Little Free Library are the same for both options, but public locations require an License of Occupation Agreement to be completed. The Community Development Coordinator will assist residents through this process and there is no cost.
Residents who would like a Little Free Library in their neighbourhood are strongly encouraged to talk to their neighbours and engage them in the process, especially those who would be directly impacted by the location. The more neighbours engaged, the more successful the project will be.
Please read all of the following information before proceeding to the online application form.
Steps to Get Started
- Call the Community Development Coordinator at 780-459-1756 to discuss your proposed Little Free Library.
- Complete a Little Free Library Application form that includes your proposed location, steps you will take to inform neighbours, structure plans, etc. Your application will be reviewed by the Community Development Coordinator as well as other impacted City departments. Feedback will be provided and changes may be required.
- If the Little Free Library is to be located on public property, you will be required to complete a License of Occupation Agreement. This is an agreement whereby you agree to build, install and maintain the structure and the City will cover liability and maintain the right to remove the structure should it fall into disrepair. This agreement will be renewed yearly to ensure the Little Free Library remains in good condition and an asset to the neighbourhood.
- Once approved, follow the “Building and Installation Requirements” outlined below tobuild and install your Little Free Library in the agreed upon location.
- All St. Albert Little Free Libraries are posted in the on-line map so other residents can find and enjoy your library.
- Celebrate your new Little Free Library with your neighbours and consider joining the Little Free Library Network to share ideas and books.
Building and Installation Requirements
- Little Free Library structures should meet the following requirements:
- Must be visually appealing and complimentary to the neighbourhood and surroundings.
- Must not impede sight lines or interfere with vehicle traffic.
- Little Free Library structures need to be fixed in the ground. This can be either through a single or double pedestal, like a fence post process. Alternately, a self-supporting and free-standing structure may be utilized. Alberta One Call must be contacted at 1-800-242-3447 if digging is required to ensure safety.
- The structure must be built in a way to withstand all weather elements. The Roof type portion needs to shed water and deter snow build up, and an overhang is recommended.
- Dimensions should be no larger than 1.2m wide and 2m tall. Optimal size is a.6m x .6m x .4m structure standing 1.5m high with book shelves approximately 1.2m high. The intention is that the shelves are at eye-level and/or a suitable level for both children and adults to access.
- During the building and installation process, ensure that every precaution is taken not to damage, injure or mark existing structures or landscaping on the City owned property.
Tips for Success
- Choose a good location! Your location should be well travelled, highly visible, and easy to access.
- Engage your neighbours. Discuss your idea and location with your immediate neighbours. Ask for assistance in building, painting or promoting your little free library. Get the kids involved, make it fun and consider hosting a launch celebration.
- Keep your Little Free Library tidy. Straighten books and keep area around the library clean, but don’t be too quick to remove excess books. Many stewards have noticed that the excess seems to take care of itself. If you keep removing books, visitors will feel they need to fill it for you!
Little Free Library Application Form
Fields with an * are required.
Please note the following: 1) This personal information is being collected under the authority of Section 33 (c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.A., 2000 and will be used to process your inquiry. It will be treated in accordance with the privacy protection provisions of Part 2 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. If you have any questions about the collection, contact the FOIP Coordinator at 780-459-1500. 2) The City does not respond to anonymous enquiries/submissions, malicious submissions, or submissions containing inappropriate or profane language; those received will be discarded by staff.
Last edited: July 31, 2023