Mini Libraries of Monroe County

Introducing the Project

The Monroe County Library System teams up with the Education Foundation, Monroe Public Schools and area townships to bring mini libraries to a neighborhood near you. The Free Neighborhood Mini Exchange Library project started in late 2013 in an effort to foster a love of reading within the Monroe Public Schools District. The Education Foundation of Monroe Public Schools envisioned a system of mini library units installed in neighborhoods throughout Monroe County and available to readers of all ages. The project was established with the desire to make illiteracy a thing of the past.

What is a Mini Library?

Mini libraries are small boxes mounted on poles about 4 feet off the ground. They resemble large bird houses or mail boxes, with wide doors that allow access to books stored inside the library. The idea behind them is very simple: take a book, then bring one back. Every two weeks or so a group of volunteers rotate and restock the libraries, allowing neighborhoods to have a wide selection of reading materials on a continuing basis.

Planning for Mini Libraries

In the spirit of true community collaboration, organizations and townships across the county have teamed up to bring the libraries to life. Students and staff from Monroe Public Schools designed prototypes of the mini library. Officials from local townships and the City of Monroe have also given their support to the project. Area schools including Monroe High School have begun plans for building and decorating the units. Once installed, the mini libraries will be stocked with donations collected by the Monroe County Library System, the Friends of the Monroe County Library System and public volunteers. “The Monroe County Library System and Friends of MCLS look forward to providing books for the mini libraries. We have 16 branches that we hope can all get involved,” said MCLS Library Director, Nancy Bellaire.

The project is still in its developing stages, with advances being made every day. To learn more about the project or find out what you can do to help, contact the Education Foundation of Monroe Public Schools.


A barn style mini library made by the Carleton Rotary

The Carleton Rotary Club was the first community group to complete a mini library. Their adorable barn-style library was originally housed inside Busch’s Fresh Food Market in Carleton, Michigan. It was built and painted by Eric Jackson, a local builder, landscaper, painter and Jack of all Trades.