I stumbled upon a charming find whilst on a family stroll the other day. The sun was shining, the birds chirping, and a gorgeous pine tree situated in the middle of my community stood tall, boasting a bevy of free books.

I had to check for double rainbows, fairy dust, and candy cane houses just to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me.

book tree

Being a former big city gal, I’m still not used to the close neighbourly feel of a friendly rural community. But there it stood, a proud public landmark sharing a wealth of knowledge with no strings attached.

Not one to miss out on a free browsing opportunity for a frugal new read, I shuffled through the cardboard boxes to find a preloved tale — used children’s books for Chloe have been on my radar.

book clubs

Carl laughed at my merriment. He couldn’t remember when the Lavington Book Tree (located across from School Road) first opened for business. “It’s just always been there,” he said.

Searching around the interwebs I found a few Book Tree mentions, along with some courteous rules for would-be browsers:

The Book Tree Rules:

“Please respect our property, restrain your kids (if any) from running around the area for their safety, clean up after yourself and don’t park by the tree as it creates a traffic hazard. Lots of parking available across the street. Visit the tree during the day and respect the neighbourhood. Thank you.”

Sounds great to me. Especially since this freecycled library branch is open year round, even during the snowy chill of Canadian winter.

Cool Reads: The Lavington Book Tree dusted with snow. Photo: Lavcycle.

After experiencing Lavington’s free ‘Tree of Knowledge’, I got to thinking about my own cluttered library in need of a new home.

The Fun of Freecycing

Freecycling is a fun movement where good people give away their unwanted, usable items for free. It’s like recycling since stuff skips the garbage heap and landfill, but it’s more like community good since people who need things take, and those who are done with stuff give. Lather, rinse, repeat. Love it.

The best things in life are free
The Best Things in Life are Free

A short story about friendship and a very long bike ride. Find out why the world needs more people like Simon — The Best Things in Life are Free.

Local Freecycling groups can be found through The Freecycle.org Network, via local Facebook groups, and in community newsletters.

Open your own Book Tree branch

Putting down roots in your community by opening your own Book Tree branch can be a fun and frugal way to meet your neighbours, share resources, and declutter those buckled bookshelves hiding in your basement. You’ll save money by skipping the bookstores and reading preloved books. You’ll never be charged an overdue library fee. Plus you’ll encourage reuse of existing books that otherwise might meet the dump.


Sure, you’ll need a way of telling the community when new books are in stock, and reminding neighbours to destock their bulging book shelves. Starting a street Facebook page seems an easy way to get the job done — just invite members to join.

Taking a page from the Lavington Book Tree is free, so I’ll be donating a couple copies of my own book, 397 Ways To Save Money, along with my extras of The Wealthy Barber, and maybe even The Millionaire Teacher for good financial measure.

Paying it forward to the community seems to be a fair price for the children’s books I freecycled for my daughter. Thank you Lavington!