Little Free Library Interview: Rick Brooks


Photo: Rick Brooks (left) with co-founder Tod Bol via Little Free Library

Meet Rick Brooks, co-founder of the Little Free Library project, a movement that has spread to some 80 countries around the world over the last six years or so. Below, Rick shares the history of the project and the role Little Free Libraries play within communities around the world, some of the more far-flung destinations where they can be found and why books are still so important in our digital age.

Little Free Library Interview - Rick BrooksPhoto: CONNECTICUT, Old Saybrook #12437

LO: Tell us a bit about yourself.
RB: I grew up with four sisters in Wichita, Kansas. Our parents wisely observed that their adolescent children were turning into young adults who could benefit from “seeing how the rest of the world lives.”

So my father, a plastic surgeon, applied for a Fulbright grant and we went to India, where he and my mother lived in a leprosy sanitorium near Vellore (in Tamil Nadu). Two of my sisters and I went to international school in Kodaikanal and one to college in Madras. We returned to Wichita, then five of us went to Peru for a year. Our lives have been changed by those experiences ever since.

Since then, I attended Beloit College, got a degree in anthropology and education, spent two years on the Hospital Ship HOPE (in Tunisia and Jamaica primarily), served as an education reporter and editor for Pioneer Press newspapers north of Chicago, and so on. I have co-founded a youth newspaper, community food and gardening network, citywide alliance of locally-owned, independent businesses; served on several dozen organizational boards, taught thousands of kids, youth and adults, volunteered/worked in lots of countries and wished I had more time to live more fully…

At this stage in life, I’m finding that what I used to do is probably less important than what life presents to me in each moment. I do not plan to “grow up.”

Continue Reading →

The Little Things: A Sunset Over The Niagara River

“Soon it got dusk, a grapy dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon fields; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgandy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries.”
– Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Sunset over the Niagara River by Stephanie Sadler, Little Observationist Shot 2015-06-16 at 18.02.59

Sunset over the Niagara River by Stephanie Sadler, Little Observationist

And who’s not moved by a sunset that slowly reveals its vibrant layers, ever-changing the sky as the sun sinks below the horizon? In all of my travels, one of my favourite places to watch this phenomenon is still just a short walk from my parents’ house in New York, in the humble Gratwick Park on the banks of the Niagara River.

Sunset over the Niagara River by Stephanie Sadler, Little Observationist

Sunset over the Niagara River by Stephanie Sadler, Little Observationist

While I was home, the low yellow light glistening through the fluttering summer leaves of the backyard trees as we were finishing dinner on the porch prompted us to head down to the river to try out my new camera.

Continue Reading →

A Change of Pace

On Thursday night, I met a good friend for dinner at Ottolenghi’s Nopi restaurant in central London. We manage to see each other only every 2-3 months these days, often popping dates into our calendars a month in advance or longer. It’s a sign of how busy we’ve all become – or perhaps just how exhausted.

I came back from the States last week after two weeks abroad – the first an intense week of conference sessions and evening events in Boston, the second a relaxing week at home in New York with family, tons of front porch time and bubble baths.

Ant on Peony by Stephanie Sadler, Little Observationist

Continue Reading →

Photographer Interview: Ida Hollis

Meet Ida, a local London photographer and musician who captures the magical of the everyday through her images. Below, Ida talks about one of her favourite photos of all time and how it came to be, what’s in her camera bag and some of life’s little luxuries that she’s appreciated lately.

3 - Deer in the Glow of Sunrise by Ida Hollis via Little ObservationistPhoto: “Deer in the glow of sunrise”

LO: Tell us a bit about yourself.
IH: I’m from London; I grew up in Kew and now live in Battersea working as a musician and photographer. It can be challenging to balance both, especially when often music requires working late and photography getting up early! But I think it’s worth the extra effort; by combining my work with my passions I am able do the things I love every day, and keep life interesting and open for new experiences. My work is made up of: playing bass guitar live and in the studio, instrumental teaching, wedding, portrait and commercial photography and working on my own personal projects. When I’m not working, I love the simple things in life: reading, cooking, and being in the great outdoors!

Continue Reading →

Instagramable Moments: May 2015

May kicked off at the TBEX travel blogger conference in Lloret de Mar, Spain, a sunny seaside town in Costa Brava. I spent a few hours in Barcelona before flying back to London. Over the next few weeks, I had a few days of wandering around the city with my camera, to Borough Market, Carnaby Street and Covent Garden. I made blueberry custard pie and a delicious seared haddock with gazpacho salsa and tomato vinaigrette to share on the blog. I had a press pass to spent a few hours at the beautiful Chelsea Flower Show before it opened to the public. I went to Stoke Newington for the first time for a meeting with a group of creative, motivated etsy sellers. I also spent some time pulling together 120 actionable social media, blog and small business promotional ideas for makers. For my full time job, I boarded a plane over to Boston for an international education conference that saw some 11,000 people in attendence, saw Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Ashbrook and Shiza Shahid make inspiring speaches, made a lot of new connections, went to tons of  sessions, receptions and evening events and had a few other adventures. Then on Friday I got on another plane up to Buffalo to spend a week at home which is where I am now! All in all, quite a busy month as usual.

Here’s a look back at May via Instagram:

1. TBEX in Lloret de Mar, Spain. This picture pretty much sums up downtown Lloret de Mar for me. There’s the highest concentration of hotels and clubs that I think I’ve ever seen in one place at one time, lots of drinking, tourists and palm trees. While the city itself wasn’t really for me, I found some beauty in the outskirts – the modernist cemetery, the gardens and seaside trails. (See posts 1, 2 & 3 for a lot more photos!)

May Instagram, Stephanie Sadler, Little Observationist

Continue Reading →

Little Weekend Links 78

I’ve been enjoying a relaxing week in upstate New York after a pretty intense conference week in Boston last week. Tomorrow, I fly back to London. I had to book with a 9-hour layover in Boston before flying overnight so I’ll be passing my time in the lounge with one of those trendy new adult colouring books, travel magazines, a novel and some blogging. It’s been sunny in New York, so I hope London’s not too far behind! Sunday is for catching up with Jorge and playing with Oakley, unpacking, laundry and sleep!

What are you up to this weekend?

Neal's Yard, Covent Garden by Stephanie Sadler, Little ObservationistPhoto: Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden

Here are some links for you:

Continue Reading →

Recipe: Seared Haddock & Gazpacho Salsa with Tomato Vinaigrette

Deb from Smitten Kitchen has included the perfect summer dinner in her cookbook (UK/US) (which is one of my all time favourites) – a light, refreshing and healthy dish called Seared Halibut and Gazpacho Salsa with Tomato Vinaigrette.

Fish with gazpacho salsa, Little Observationist

Not able to find halibut, I used haddock instead. I also skipped sweet onion that she added to the salsa because I couldn’t find that either, but feel free to add it in. She calls for 1/2, diced, in the salsa. Anyway, it still turned out to be a tasty, colourful meal like something out of the Mediterranean, and easy to put together too.

Continue Reading →

Little Weekend Links 77

This is going to be short and sweet because I’m in Boston for a huge conference with a super busy schedule. I’ve seen Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Ashbrook, Shiza Shahid and a few other amazing speakers, met a inspiring ton of new international educators and had a couple of adventures along the way. The weather is amazing too! I’m looking forward to heading up to Buffalo tonight to spend some time relaxing at home.

On another note, I there’s a new instant download in my Etsy shop: 120 Actionable Social Media, Blog & Other Small Business Promotional Ideas for Makers – June 2015. It was fun to put together, so if it’s of interest to you, enjoy!

What are you up to this weekend?

Hotel Chocolat, Covent Garden by Stephanie Sadler, Little ObservationistPhoto: Hotel Chocolat, Covent Garden

Here are some links for you:

Continue Reading →

The Serenity of Phoenix Garden, London

In the centre of London, just a few minutes walk from Covent Garden station and the bustle of the Seven Dials streets packed with shops and restaurants and cafes is a pocket of serenity. I first stumbled upon Phoenix Garden many years ago when I was wandering around with my camera and spotted a Stik face staring out at me from a bright yellow wall down a side street. That piece of street art is still there and and well protected, at the very end of the garden.

Phoenix Gardens, London by Stephanie Sadler, Little Observationist

Phoenix Gardens, London by Stephanie Sadler, Little Observationist

Phoenix Gardens, London by Stephanie Sadler, Little Observationist

The site used to host the old leper hospital of St. Giles-in-the-Fields that was set up in the 12th century.  Later, it became a WWII bombsite as a result of the Blitz and then was turned into a car pack. So, this is very much an improvement (as any garden in the middle of an enormous city would be) and the garden has existed for more than 30 years now. It even won the first prize for Best Environmental Garden in the “Camden in Bloom” competition six times.

Continue Reading →

Interview: Virginie François

Interview with Virginie Francois, Little Observationist

Meet Virginie, one of the most stylish women I know, who has worked hard to turn her passion into a successful business (in another country, no less!). Originally from France, she has set up her shop Mushi Mushi in the heart of Barcelona where she sells beautiful women’s clothing and accessories. Recently, she’s collaborated with a local artist to create a line of t-shirts and another project is in the works now with an artist based in Madrid. Below, Virginie shares the story of Mushi Mushi, some of the challenges she’s faced as an entrepreneur and a bit about Barcelona itself. 

Interview with Virginie Francois, Little Observationist

LO: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
VF: I am French, Breton specifically. I have always lived close to the sea which explains why I chose Barcelona to start my business. This is a very cosmopolitan and vibrant city, packed with artists.

LO: You run Mushi Mushi in Barcelona full-time. Share the story of the shop’s beginnings.
VF: It was a huge adventure when I arrived in Spain. I didn’t know anyone! I moved into a flat in Gracia and I started looking for a job right away. Slowly but surely, the idea of starting my own women’s clothing shop became clearer to me. After a few years of very tough recession, I decided to move the shop to a new spot and freshen up the image. I finally managed to have my Parisian boutique in Gracia.

Continue Reading →

%d bloggers like this: