SPOTLIGHT: Little Free Library pops up in Greenbank

Posted in Feature, Spotlight
Jim and Judy Corbin stand next to the Little Free Library they created in their Greenbank neighborhood. (Photos by Jan Shannon)

Jim and Judy Corbin stand next to the Little Free Library they created in their Greenbank neighborhood. (Photos by Jan Shannon)

Whidbey Life Magazine

It’s number 4125 on the list of Little Free Libraries that have been popping up everyday in America and around the world. The LFL motto – take a book, return a book.

Judy and Jim Corbin are the stewards of Whidbey Island’s third Little Free Library at 3697 Lagoon View Drive in Greenbank. It’s a colorful box on a stand with a roof and a door that holds books for anyone walking by to claim and enjoy. Visitors can also drop off books, too, all in the spirit of spreading literacy and sharing a love a reading.

“The library sits in front of our home and we are its stewards,” Judy Corbin said. It was her idea to build it, which Jim did out of all recycled materials and some other stuff Judy found at the Habitat for Humanity Store in Freeland.

The Little Free Library movement was started by entrepreneur Todd Bol in Hudson, Wis. And Rick Brooks of Madison in 2010 in an effort to bring free access to books and literacy promotion, coupled with the fun of building one’s own little wood box for books.  The movement has grown rapidly by hearty book lovers in most states and in several countries. The mission is to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide. The impressive website at gets into the extraordinary numbers of the Little Free Library system’s growth and even has handy building design kits for various little library boxes including the “Amish Shed.”

The Greenbank Little Free Library has a shelf for children’s books in honor of Barbara Bell.

“She’s a wonderful lady 91 years young who loves children and books and she taught many children to read and to love books,” Judy Corbin said. “And it only seems fitting that she have a library in her honor,” she added.

The Corbin’s have placed a small touch light in their Little Free Library LFL for those who stop by in the dark. In fact,  they say anybody can come by any time it catches their fancy. Users can also bring books to contribute, which can be left on the couple’s front porch and out of the elements if there’s no room on the shelf. LFL books are always a gift – never for sale, Judy Corbin said, and she checks the library frequently, labels the books and makes sure they are in good shape and appropriate for all ages.

The idea of the LFL system is to foster a sense of community and a connection with neighbors as skills, creativity and wisdom are shared across generations through spontaneous conversations that might happen while planning, building or visiting a LFL.  The Corbins said they get a lot of folks who stop by to thank them for the library.

“The bottom line; I think with all the bad things that we hear about, it’s just nice to have something nice. And it’s free,” she said.


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