The Little Free Library: Dog Edition

Carrie Noar finds joy as she battles breast cancer by creating an adorable book exchange for dog lovers.

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- Posted on Apr 13, 2021

The Little Free Library for dogs, puppies and their owners; photo courtesy Carrie Noar

The unique pink box in the front yard was created to serve those in the community, but Carrie Noar found that her project has also provided her unexpected blessings.

“Ever since my teaching partner told me about Little Free Libraries, I knew I wanted to make one,” says Carrie, an associate Pre-K teacher in Roanoke, Illinois. Little Free Libraries, originally created in 2009, are neighborhood book exchanges—a way for people to take a book to read, or leave one for someone else to find. 

Carrie’s husband, Matt, promised to make her one for her birthday in May 2020. In June, she was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Designing and planning the Little Free Library became a helpful distraction.

The book exchanges are often crafted in different, creative themes. Carrie, who blogs about her adventures with greyhounds, Rose and Flattery, German Shepherd, Kuster, and Belgian Malinois, Kiva, decided to create a dog-themed library. Features include dog-inspired artwork, a metal greyhound on top, leash hook, a packet of dog waste bags and hand sanitizer, and a jar of dog treats. She’s planning on installing a water fountain. Eventually she’d like to add a bench and some flowers. The library—with its pink roof shaped like an open book and solar LED lights—took her husband almost a month to build and another few weeks to paint.

The project has given Carrie something positive to focus on as she goes through her treatments. In addition, it has shown her how many people care about her—from her husband and another relative who helped construct it, to a nephew who painted the artwork, to friends who donated books. The Little Free Library holds about 25 volumes. As people stop by, she’s discovered another benefit. “After many years of living here, we’re finally getting to know some of our neighbors.”

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