By Danielle Lanning, ONA intern

Photo provided by Doug AlexanderAs newspapers evolve into a combination of print and digital media, not every news rack around town is necessarily needed anymore. Some newspaper companies have decided to make use of those abandoned news racks in a new way: turning them into Little Free Libraries.

Photo provided by Doug Alexander

Little Free Library is a national and international organization that brings free book exchanges to communities. Modeled after a one-room schoolhouse, the little cubbies help promote reading with a “take a book, return a book” encouragement. There are thousands in the United States alone.

Doug Alexander, the educational services manager at The Washington Times and president of the Newspapers in Education Institute, has initiated Little Free Libraries in his community by donating out-of-use news racks. He provides news racks in decent shape to local community groups, nonprofits or Girl and Boy Scout troops to paint and design.

Photo provided by Doug Alexander

When repurposing the news racks, Alexander prepares them by taking the mechanical parts off the top, putting wood over the metal tray inside and removing a spring from the door so it won’t close so quickly.

To make your news rack an official Little Free Library, go to to get a certificate, and add it to the World Map of Little Free Libraries.

Click here to download a description card to put on news racks showing them as a Little Free Library.

Photos provided by Doug Alexander

Share →