Little Libraries

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Little Free Library
By Flickr user Rick Obst - CC License
View Tempe resident libraries.

To extend access to reading materials across the city, the City of Tempe is offering rebates for the installation of Little Libraries in Tempe neighborhoods. Homeowners and non-profit organizations that purchase, install and register a Little Library can receive up to a $300 rebate to offset the costs. Little Libraries rebate funding is available for structures placed on private property only.

The Little Libraries concept is Tempe’s version of the national Little Free Libraries program, which has sparked an international phenomenon resulting in more than 50,000 neighborhood libraries and millions of annual book exchanges. Locally, the program was developed by a City Council working group comprised of Councilmembers Kolby Granville and David Schapira, who spearheaded the effort.

View some of our residents' Little Libraries.
Find library locations in Tempe. Search by city, zip code, or your device GPS.

Notes:

  • Zip Codes north of Baseline have reached capacity for full rebate funding.
  • Funding is available in the 85283 zip code if you live south of Baseline. 
Forms
Please fill out and return to:
City of Tempe
Neighborhood Library
3500 S. Rural Road
Suite 203
Tempe, AZ 85282

In order to participate in this program, you must have permission from your Landlord and the Home Owners Association, if the property is a member of an HOA. Please complete and submit the form if you own the property and are not a member of an HOA.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a Little Library?

A Little Library (LL) is a small, physical structure that serves as a free “take a book, leave a book” gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories.

What does Tempe’s ordinance do?

1. Permits LLs to be placed, with landowner’s permission, on residential lots, church and school properties, and on city properties with authorization.
2. Prohibits placement of LLs in the public right of way as well as obstruction of pedestrian, bicycle, or vehicular traffic, or any obstruction of ADA accessibility.
3. Sets guidelines for box size no larger than 30-inches wide, 30-inches high, and 18-inches deep with a total height of no more than 66-inches.

How would a resident go about installing a Little Library?

The ordinance allows a resident to build an LL box to the dimensions specified and install it on his or her property. After doing so, residents may turn in receipts for building expenses to the city for reimbursement up to $300. As a condition of reimbursement, residents must submit a Reimbursement Form and an Landlord and HOA Authorization Form.

What are the guidelines for a Little Library?

  • Neighborhood libraries are accessory use to the property and shall conform to all of the following guidelines:The neighborhood library shall not be located between the street and the public sidewalk.
  • The neighborhood library shall not obstruct vehicular, bicycle or pedestrian traffic, either physically or by a person utilizing the neighborhood library.
  • The neighborhood library shall not obstruct access isles or paths utilized by persons in wheelchairs or for ADA accessibility.
  • On residential property, the neighborhood library must be placed in the front yard between the face of the building and the right-of-way.
  • The neighborhood library shall be designed to hold books. The overall structure shall be limited to a height not to exceed 66 inches; a width not to exceed 30 inches; a depth not to exceed 18 inches; and the box height shall not exceed 30 inches.

What kind of commitment is required to host a Little Library?

In order to host an LL, residents must agree to allow the box to remain on their properties for a minimum of five years, to keep them up to code, to keep them stocked and to register them with Little Free Libraries so that residents may more easily locate nearby LLs.

Who is responsible for stocking and maintaining the Little Library?

The resident who is hosting the NL is responsible for keeping it stocked. The Friends of the Library organization has agreed to provide books to those residents who request assistance with stocking the LL initially but will not be responsible for ongoing maintenance of the contents. Email Robert Hales at rdhales79@yahoo.com for information.

How do residents get reimbursed for building their own Little Library?

Residents who build their own LL boxes may download a Reimbursement Form and an Landlord and HOA Authorization Form and return them to the Community Services Department along with all receipts from box construction for reimbursement up to $300. Residents may include receipt for the registration of the LL with Little Free Libraries within the allotted $300 reimbursement. Boxes must be constructed and set on the resident's property before payment will be issued.

Are there limits to how many Little Library boxes can be built or reimbursed by the city?

There is no defined limit to the number of LLs allowed in the City of Tempe. In March 2017, City Council approved $10,000 for Fiscal Year 2017-18 that would fund approximately 30-40 LL boxes across the city. This fund will be divided equally between north and south Tempe. Additional funding will be allocated for Fiscal year 2018-19.