Swiping, texting, and tapping screens are second nature to your kids. Reintroduce their little fingers to turning the pages of a book (and show them the value of community service) by creating a Little Free Library right in your own front yard. The idea behind Little Free Library is to take a book and leave a book, all while giving your community access to great reads. Read on to discover how to get one started in your neighborhood.

Take a book, leave a book. That’s what the Little Free Library is all about. Little Free Library is a non-profit organization started in 2009, to help build literacy and create community. The big idea behind the Little libraries is encouraging neighborhood interaction by sharing resources, as books are donated and borrowed to keep the grassroots library “operating.” The founders have since spawned micro-lending in 36 countries on 6 continents, and counting.

So where do you start? The Little Free Library site touts all the 411 to get you and your industrious offspring building. Finding a suitable spot may be tricky: best to pick a place that’s public on private property. That’ll be easy to stumble upon (and revisit!), but will avoid the need for city permits and approvals.

Tykes on trikes are prime for a Bob or Bobbie the Builder party to make a homemade housing for your burgeoning collection. For the construction-challenged, simple patterns for an Amish shed are easier to follow than Ikea instructions. Or order premade from the website, to save time, frustration and fingertips. Then decorate to draw little eyes and get the exchange going.

Build book stock by spreading the word that you’re taking donations. Could be thematic, maybe start with picture books to please the pint-sized lit chicks then progress as their ages do. Turn this week’s playgroup into a book exchange and your inventory will increase exponentially.

Keeping it going could be the toughest part, as initial enthusiasm gives way to soccer practice and dance recitals. Keep it fresh by changing it up: drop off a Captain Underpants and pick up a Nate the Great, or slip in a Rainbow Fairy and pull out an American Girl story. Kiddies and grown ups-of all sizes will wander by wondering, “What’s in the Library today?”

“Like” this story if you think this is a great way to connect with other little bookworms. Will you be constructing your own lending library?

– Kim Orchen Cooper