Pulitzer Prize winner "The Goldfinch." Comedian Mindy Kaling’s first memoir. Historical novel "Girl with the Pearl Earring." "Jim Ugly" by children’s author Sid Fleischman.
What do all of these books have in common? They’re all available at Little Free Library No. 32416, a charming blue and white miniature house in a Chanhassen resident’s front yard.
Little Free Libraries, small house-like boxes filled with all kinds of books, provide free reading material for anyone and everyone. Whether you’re looking for something new or dropping off well-loved paperbacks yourself, LFLs are available to peruse anytime — especially welcome now that many public libraries have limited access.
Anyone can create and register their own LFL for their community, and according to the Little Free Library Map online, there are nine registered libraries with a Chanhassen mailing address. Each has their own "charter," or identification number.
Why not spend an afternoon visiting — and awarding — every single one?
Categories are made up and there won’t be (tiny) trophies or formal ceremonies, but let this be a guide for everyone looking to pick up or drop off some reading material. (And if you go, send us your best finds — my personal favorite was "Dinosaur Planet Survivors" by Anne McCaffrey. Dinosaurs? Aliens? Space pirates?! It has everything.)
Note: All book counts were accurate as of 5 p.m. Sept. 1. Libraries that only had latitude and longitude data listed have been converted to a street address.
Charter No. 15984
Everything about this LFL screams adorable. A hand-painted portrayal of the "Very Hungry Caterpillar"! A rock garden on top! A slightly-wrinkled sheet of notebook paper advertising the neighborhood tweens’ BabySitter’s Club ($5 per kid and yes, they’ll wear masks)! With a pristine fountain, nearby playground and tennis court, this LFL is worth a stop and an audible “awwww”.
Listed Address: 2563 Longacres Drive
Charter No. 616
This meticulously maintained LFL has a wide variety of bestsellers, but it’s what wasn’t there that earns it the title of Most Informative. Check mid-morning and you’ll find a copy of the day’s Wall Street Journal or New York Times, provided by owner Mike Baker. They always disappear by the afternoon, so if you’re searching for some free news, act fast.
Listed Address: 2383 Highover Trail
Charter No. 18282
Most health conscious
See that bright yellow dot on the top shelf? That’s the reason behind this LFL’s award — complimentary hand sanitizer. The product of a neighborhood fundraiser, visitors can find children/tween books on the bottom shelf and a mix of fantasy, sci-fi and self-help on the top. The owners cycle out books every two weeks and plan on refreshing its paint job soon, so check back again.
Listed address: 1430 Lake Susan Hills Drive
Charter No. 66114
My first attempt to find this LFL was thwarted by the website and Google Maps — apparently, the address listed doesn’t exist. After driving around the neighborhood I found a close match (9381 Springfield Drive), but alas, the house is up for sale and devoid of a LFL. Is it really gone, or do I just have poor navigation skills? That has yet to be determined, but if you do know where it is, email email@example.com.
Listed address: 9381 Springfield Drive
Charter No. 55099
A close contender for most kid-friendly (less than 20 steps from a neighborhood playground!), this colorful polka-dotted creation tops the charts at 66 books. While the front is stocked with children’s stories, the back is filled to the brim with paperback sci-fi, fantasy and fiction. Don’t forget to grab a bookmark from the door!
Listed Address: Pioneer Pass Park
Charter No. ?
Nothing calling to you from the Pioneer Pass Park library? Turn around and look closely — just across the street is a bonus, unofficial LFL. It may not be on the website’s list and doesn’t have a registered sign, but the simple red farmhouse holds 48 books (and a few DVDs) behind its frosted glass. Does this make up for the mysteriously absent LFL from earlier?
Unofficial address: Across the street from Pioneer Pass Park
Charter No. 12682
As soon as you walk up to this LFL, you’ll understand why it wins best view. The wooden structure is located at the entrance of a scenic trail that winds down the hill, through wildflowers and around a pond. The bench 10 feet away makes for the perfect, picturesque reading spot. The selection is small at just 23 books, but the landscape can’t be beat.
Listed Address: 9260 Ellendale Lane
Charter No. 85201
Most Kid Friendly
While it was a competitive race (so many are near playgrounds!) this LFL ekes out over the rest due to sheer distance — the library is within 10 feet of a playground, gazebo and neighborhood pool. Built as an Eagle Scout project, almost every one of the 41 books is geared toward readers under 13.
Listed Address: Corner of Sapphire Lane and Topaz Drive.
Charter No. 32416
Surrounded by plants and shrouded by trees, this LFL at the end of a cul de sac looks just like your childhood dollhouse, if your dollhouse was filled with old paperbacks and Barbara Bush’s memoir. It’s a simple design, but the windows (with real glass) and baby blue door makes for an adorable pit stop. Just don’t expect kid-friendly reading material — the 31 books are almost all for adults.
Listed Address: 140 Choctaw Circle
Charter No. 6323
While it’s hidden from the street, just walk down a short path and you’ll find this meticulously organized LFL. The location is the real gem — it’s steps from Rice Marsh Lake Park, which has a picnic shelter, playground, ball field and basketball court, along with a 3.4 mile trail loop around the lake. The oversize shelves are made for large children’s books, while the upper portion holds adult paperbacks. Finally, something for the people who sit on the sidelines while others play basketball (me).
Listed Address: 8115 Erie Circle