An Artist Turned a Dead Tree Into a 'Magical' Neighborhood Library—And It's Big Enough to Walk Into

altmodern/Getty Images

Take a look inside.

If you’re looking for a story of hope and immense luck, meet a dying tree who happened to live in the yard of a former bookbinder and librarian in Idaho. When a 110-year-old cottonwood tree started to die on Sharalee Armitage Howard’s property, she started planning ways to revitalize it post-death.

Ok, this project isn’t quite finished... but I can’t wait to share it. We had to remove a huge tree that was over 110...

Posted by Sharalee Armitage Howard on Monday, December 10, 2018


Howard is also an artist, which led her to the idea of transforming the tree’s stump into a free little library. For the uninformed, a free little library is a small space dedicated to sharing free books with anyone who passes by. The idea is that once someone takes a book, they’ll replace it with one of their own or return the borrowed book once they’ve finished reading it. These libraries usually take the form of a mailbox-like structure, but Howard’s is a massive version of this trend. According to the Little Free Library, you can find versions of the project in 88 countries around the world.

Thanks so much for all of the wonderful feedback about our little free library! It's awesome to know that there are so...

Posted by Sharalee Armitage Howard on Tuesday, December 18, 2018


You can find Howard’s free, not-so-little library in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The tree was cut down after a branch fell on a car to reveal a rotting trunk. While you usually can’t fit more than a few books inside a standard free little library, Howard’s is a room big enough to hold not only books, but curious people.

The Little Free (Tree) Library

This is an awesome project.

A Coeur d'Alene artist found a unique way to repurpose an old and decaying tree in her front yard.

She's turned the tree's stump into a Little Free Library. It's a free book exchange designed to encourage reading.

A Facebook post from the woman has since been shared close to 30,000 times!

Posted by Taylor Viydo on Tuesday, December 18, 2018


Her library is a work of art, complete with hand-carved shelves and carved mini books that greet you at the door. Howard has shared photos of her work on Facebook, highlighting the exterior view of the trunk, as well as some of the smaller details.