HOW TO STEWARD
It's up to you how you steward your library. Consider how you would like it to run, based on your time and interest. Research how others run their library or ask a steward. Be flexible and willing to change if necessary.
How often are you able to check it? If the library is half empty every-time someone visits they may start to visit less often. If the library is jam-packed with books they may get damaged and visitors won't be able to see them all or won't want to rummage through them all.
Think about how to display your books so that they are all easy to see & are well laid out.
Are you going to put anything else in your library e.g. bookmarks, guest book, hand sanitiser etc? If so, be sure to label what is free to take and what should stay in your library. Don't put anything in that would upset you if someone took it.
Where are you going to store books that get donated if they don't all fit in the library? Expect a large donation or two.
Would you collect books ahead of time for occasions e.g. Halloween or Christmas so that you can theme according to the season? Think about where they will be stored throughout the year.
How long will you let a book stay in your library? A handy tip we discovered is to slide all the books along to the left and add new ones to the right (we read from left to right so the older books tend to go by doing this). We don't let books stay in for more than two weeks and this is an easy way of knowing what needs to be rested for a while.
Drowning in books? It's fun to have a garden giveaway on a sunny day.
Children's competitions are fun to do every now and again. One of the stewards on the Facebook stewards page releases a little library themed colouring page for holidays. They are very popular.
Get a steward friend. Cities like London, Manchester and Leeds have groups of little free libraries. Ask if you could get involved or make friends with someone who has a nearby library that you can share stock with. Ask a friend or family member to start their own library. The number of little free libraries is growing all the time.
Cataloguing books is interesting and it's quick and easy with a smartphone as you just scan the barcode on the back of the book. We use the free package with Libib and it's very good.
How much time are you willing to spend?
Would you rather it ran itself?
Do you want the books to be taken only or taken and returned?
Would you like a guest book for visitors to leave you a message or feedback?
Don't put accessories in that would upset you if someone took (like a favourite container that had sweets in).
You may need more book storage space than you think - plan ahead.
If you are low on stock, consider supporting a local charity store where you can find books very cheaply. If you are not sure what to buy, look inside the front cover for the publishing date and look for books published within the last couple of years (people who read a lot may have read the older books).
Paperbacks take up less space than hardbacks & are more likely to be borrowed (although that may vary by area).
Space is limited in little free libraries so focus on smaller books for children. They visit more often if the books are smaller and you can fit more in the library.
Cataloguing your books is an easy way to see how many have been through your library. It's really easy with a smartphone and an app - you just scan the barcode.
Number code areas where you store books e.g. shelf number or box number. If someone asks if you have a book in stock and you do, you can find it very easily.