In the heart of the quiet La Cueva neighborhood sits a small, unassuming home on an ordinary block. The home is a well-kept, two-story, suburban-style house with small, artistic eccentricities (like old shoes used as flower pots and an overwhelming assortment of windchimes), but what really makes this home stand out is the large box that sits on two stilts in the front yard.
That box is a Little Free Lending Library, and it is just one of dozens that polka dot the city in a trend that has exploded in communities over the last several years.
The big blue box with the glass-paned door first appeared in the Eagle Rock neighborhood, on the corner of Tricia Road and Krider Street, just north of North Domingo Baca Park, in 2019 as a community pantry. Throughout the pandemic and quarantine, homeowner Rachel Cohen operated it as such. But with people getting out more, Cohen said she felt it was time for something different.
“I just thought it was time for a change,” said the retired Albuquerque transplant. “And I was really curious to see how a library would do in the neighborhood.”
With titles ranging from Agatha Christie mysteries, to children’s books, to cookbooks and religious texts, Rachel’s library has been a success since it first converted at the beginning of 2022.
“I’ve been very excited about the response,” she said. “I love coming out every morning to see what people have left and what’s been taken.”
As far as the aesthetics of the Little Free Lending Library, Cohen said she found the builder/artist, Shawn Reynolds, online.
“I just found them on a website and asked if they’d be willing to build it, and they said, ‘Yes.’”
If you are interested in constructing your own similar library/pantry box, you can contact Reynolds at 505-259-4730.
If you are interested in participating in the lending library, bring your fair-condition books to the corner of Tricia and Krider.
“Anytime,” said Cohen.
This story was written by Neighborhood Journal contributor Taylor Hood.