Duggan, Brooks & Books: Sharing Books, Creating Community
This is the third in our series of articles lifting up Little Free Libraries in Tacoma. If you missed our first article about Melo and her Eastside library, or our second article about Leigh and the Cushman Branch, you might be wondering what dentist Dr. Jamie Brooks, and the Duggans (a couple working in the real estate industry) have to do with Little Free Libraries? That’s easy! We love Tacoma and we love community! (And we love to read, so why not?)
Along with our Little Free Library profiles in which we take an up-close look at a particular library through the eyes of its caretakers, we’re hosting a book drive at Brooks Dental Studio and Windermere Abode to support the specific libraries we’re writing about. We’ll even give you a “wish list” for each library. (Lots more about the book drive below!)
Our project will culminate in the sponsorship of 2 new Little Free Libraries for Tacoma. The Rotary Literacy Committee and Tacoma Community House have been helping us identify areas with a need for greater access to books. We’re so excited so share the locations of our 2 new libraries for Tacoma! We’ll be back later with that announcement, so stay tuned.
Support - the existing Little Free Library community in Tacoma
Share - our love of books, of reading, and our love of Tacoma
Expand - access to literacy through 2 new Little Libraries
Enhance - the quality and availability of Little Free Library material through our book drive with intentional stocking of books to meet the various interests of the community
Collaborate - with Little Free Library caretakers to share the story of their library and understand its role in their neighborhood
Sound good? We hope you have some books around that you’re ready to share. We thank you in advance!
What’s a Little Free Library?
Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization founded in Wisconsin in 2012, although it actually began in 2009 when Todd H. Bol built the first Little Free Library. Todd passed away in 2018, leaving a legacy of literacy. At the time of his death over 75,000 Little Free Libraries populated 88 countries! Here in Tacoma we’re part of that global community.
Little Free Libraries are mini libraries outside homes. Folks can purchase kits, or design their own. Little Free Libraries are free to use and open to everyone. They’re here for all of us and they’re meant to be used and shared!
Visit the Little Free Library site to learn more about how it all started, explore a searchable map of local libraries, or register your own Little Library if you haven’t already.
Local Little Free Library Profile - Julia & The M Street Branch
Meet Julia. She and her husband Trevor, along with their family, are caretakers of a Little Free Library outside their home on S 16th & M St in the Hilltop. Julia and her family care intensely about the Tacoma community in general, and the Hilltop Neighborhood they call home in particular. They work hard and think hard about equity, education, and community development. The little library outside their house is just one tiny glimpse of that. Read all about this neighborhood library below, then find out how you can support it!
How long has your Little Free Library been open?
“We've had our Little Free Library since July 2015.”
The M Street Branch is coming up on its 4th anniversary! Once you know to look for little libraries, you’ll start to spot them all over the city. Try playing some “I spy” in the car while you drive, walk, or cycle around.
What inspired you to host a Little Free Library outside your home?
“We were inspired by seeing other Little Free Libraries in the neighborhood (especially Sally Perkins'), and our general love for community and books. We were also feeling the lack of a community library in the Hilltop and wanted to contribute, in some small way, in freely sharing books with our neighbors.”
If you’re curious about Sally Perkins’ little library referenced above, just keep an eye out when you’re driving along S 15th St through the Hilltop. Hint: look for a beautifully tended garden on a corner lot.
Have you met anyone new because of your Little Free Library?
“Yes! We don't necessarily remember all their names, but it's always fun to hear from folks who take the extra few yards to walk by our house for new books. We enjoy seeing and meeting families with little ones stop by too.”
Has the Little Free Library changed or influenced your relationship with your neighborhood or the people on your block?
“We'd like to think so. It's helpful to be married to someone 10x more extroverted than you, but having the Little Free Library has definitely helped me be social. Especially in the summer months, conversations flow much easier with the Little Free Library around. It's also increased our sense of community. Our neighbors are always donating books and/or finding new books to fall in love with.”
Do you notice any “favorite” kinds of books for your neighborhood?
“Children's books fly off the shelves like crazy. We've noticed that novels stay a little bit longer, but we can never have enough children's and young adult books.”
Take note for the book drive! Who has some kids books and YA literature to pass on?
What are your wishes for your Little Free Library, or your vision for its purpose or influence?
“We'd love to continue providing access to books. While we dream of a brick and mortar Hilltop library someday, we want ours to be a little bridge in that gap we have. We'd also love it if this Little Free Library becomes less ‘our’ little free library and more the community little free library. We want our neighbors to know this is as much theirs as it is ours.”
How can the Tacoma community support your Little Free Library?
“During the summer months, our LFL gets banged up a lot; sometimes some folks will tear it down or break the door. I'd like the community to know that this is theirs too. It's not just ours because it's in front of our house. It's THEIRS. It's the community's. I think continued conversation around why we have LFLs and why it's important to take care of them would be helpful. We have so many families and neighbors who enjoy being able to find new books to read, and we want to make sure it's a wonderful experience year round.”
Help! Who can repair the broken door?
Just after publishing this story, we learned from Julia that the pane of plexiglass in the library’s door has been broken! This is so sad. If you have the skills and willingness to help get this fixed, please let us know! Send us a message on our Facebook or Instagram pages, or get in touch through our contact page.
Duggan, Brooks & Books Little Free Library Book Drive
Part of our mission is to “Enhance the quality of Little Free Library material through intentional stocking of books that meet the various needs and interest of the community.”
This is where you come in! Any books you love, find interesting or valuable, and are ready to share are more than welcome.
Book Drive Wish List for the M Street Branch
As Julia shared, “Children’s books fly off the shelves like crazy.”:
Young Adult Books
Any book you love and would like to share!
Don’t feel limited by the list, it’s just a way to get ideas going. So let’s start collecting for the book drive!
Book Drive Locations
Brooks Dental Studio - 732 Broadway, Suite 101, Downtown Tacoma
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 7 am - 4 pm
Tuesday: 7 am - 1 pm
Brooks Dental Studio is on Antique Row and just below colorful Opera Alley. Drop off some books, then browse the vintage shops, or head toward S. 9th for coffee at Bostwick Cafe, or a treat at Original House of Donuts - then brush those teeth!
Find Dr. Jamie & stay in the loop about our project:
Windermere Abode - 2200 N 30th St, Suite 102, Old Town Tacoma
Monday - Friday: 9 am - 5 pm
Saturday: we often have a realtor on duty, so we’ll let you know via Instagram and Facebook if it’s a good Saturday to drop off some books!
Windermere Abode is in Tacoma’s beautiful Old Town, just a block up from the Old Town Dock on the Ruston Way Waterfront. Drop off some books, then take a walk on Ruston Way, or head across the street to The Spar for cocoa, coffee, or delicious Spar Chips!
Find Michael & Gretchen of Duggan Homes & stay in the loop about our project:
See You Soon!
In the coming weeks we’ll be featuring another Tacoma Little Free Library and its caretakers. We can’t wait to share more stories, and update our book drive wish list. Just let us know if you have any questions about donating books. We look forward to seeing you around Tacoma!