Duggan, Brooks & Books Project: Meet Melo & Her Eastside Library

Our first meeting at  Peaks & Pints  where the Duggan, Brooks & Books Project got started. (Left to right: Gretchen Duggan, Michael Duggan, Dr. Jamie Brooks)

Our first meeting at Peaks & Pints where the Duggan, Brooks & Books Project got started. (Left to right: Gretchen Duggan, Michael Duggan, Dr. Jamie Brooks)

Introducing Duggan, Brooks & Books: Sharing Books, Creating Community

What do a dentist and a real estate agent family have to do with Little Free Libraries? That’s easy! We love Tacoma and we love community!

If you live in Tacoma, you know it’s a small world. Brooks Dental Studio and Duggan Homes have lived in intersecting circles for a while. So this year we met up with the idea of collaborating on a project and quickly discovered - beyond several mutual friends - we also share a love of books and an interest in supporting access to literacy. Jamie, dentist extraordinaire, enjoyed running a book drive with her family to provide high quality material for Little Free Libraries around the city, so we took that idea and ran with it.

By the time you finish this article we hope you’re as excited as Melo Hogan about Little Free Libraries!

By the time you finish this article we hope you’re as excited as Melo Hogan about Little Free Libraries!

Here’s where we landed: Throughout March and April we’ll be coming to you every couple of weeks with a Little Free Library profile, an up close look at a particular library through the eyes of the caretakers.

Along with these Little Free Library profiles, we’re hosting book drives at Brooks Dental Studio and Windermere Abode. We’ll even give you a “wish list” for each library. (Lots more about the book drive below!)

Our project will culminate in the sponsorship of 2 new Little Free Libraries in parts of the city where a public library might not be within easy reach. The Rotary Literacy Committee and Tacoma Community House are helping us identify areas with a need for greater access to books. We’re so excited!

Our Mission

  • Support - the existing Little Free Library community in Tacoma

  • Share - our love of books, of reading, and our love of Tacoma

  • Expand - access to literacy through 2 new Little Libraries

  • Enhance - the quality of Little Free Library material through intentional stocking of books to meet the various needs and interest of the community 

  • Collaborate - with Little Free Library caretakers to share the story of their library and understand its role in their neighborhood

Sound good? We hope you have some books around that you’re ready to share. We thank you in advance!


One of many Little Free Libraries in Tacoma. You’ll find this library on North Fernside Drive, on the hillside above Titlow Beach and the Narrows.

One of many Little Free Libraries in Tacoma. You’ll find this library on North Fernside Drive, on the hillside above Titlow Beach and the Narrows.

What’s a Little Free Library?

Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization founded in Wisconsin in 2012, although it actually began in 2009 when Todd H. Bol built the first Little Free Library. Todd passed away in 2018, leaving a legacy of literacy to speak for his life. At the time of his death there were over 75,000 Little Free Libraries in 88 countries! Here in Tacoma we’re part of that global community.

Little Free Libraries are mini libraries outside homes. Folks can purchase kits, or design their own. Little Free Libraries are free to use, open to everyone, and require no returns. However, it’s great to both give books and take books, if you’re able. No matter what, they’re here for us, here for you, meant to be used and shared!

Visit the Little Free Library site to learn more about how it all started, explore a searchable map of local libraries, or register your own Little Library if you haven’t already.


Local Little Free Library Profile - Melo Hogan & Her Eastside Little Free Library

Meet Melo, proud Eastside Tacoma resident and steward of the Hogan Family Community Library. She was such a good sport for this wintry photoshoot (and looks pretty dang cute in the snow)!

Meet Melo, proud Eastside Tacoma resident and steward of the Hogan Family Community Library. She was such a good sport for this wintry photoshoot (and looks pretty dang cute in the snow)!

There are a lot of people who go on walks in the neighborhood and kids coming and going to school; I’d love for our community library to be a pit stop for them. In a world where everyone is looking down on their phones, I’d love to influence more to open books and read.
— Melo Hogan

Meet Melo. She and her family are caretakers for the Hogan Family Community Library outside their home at 5801 E K Street. Melo is a Realtor alongside Michael at Windermere Abode, and we’ve loved getting to know her since she joined the Abode office. Melo was born and raised in the Philippines and has called Tacoma home for many years. She has a strong sense of community spirit, is generous and kind. Melo graciously agreed to be interviewed for our project, so you can read all about her family’s library below.

(LFL=Little Free Library)

Another thing Melo loves about Little Free Libraries: “No late fees!”

Another thing Melo loves about Little Free Libraries: “No late fees!”

How long has your Little Free Library been open? 

“It's been 11 weeks since it's been installed and I added a modest amount of books.”

It’s so great that Melo added some books to the shelves to get things started, but we can all support this young Little Free Library and help the Hogans keep it well-stocked!

What inspired you to host a LFL outside your home? 

Melo first saw photos of Little Free Libraries on the internet 5 years ago. Then she caught a glimpse of her first “in person” library at Normandy Park. “I thought, it is so cool to have something for the community to share. (And for both kids and adults to be excited about!) Since then, I've been begging my husband to make me one! It was never on the top list of his honey-do list…”

I think many of us can relate to that! So, last summer (in 2018), Melo met Shannon and Theresa at the Eastside Farmers Market. Theresa successfully applied for a grant for 16-20 Little Free Libraries to be installed in Tacoma’s Eastside, thanks to ENACT - the Eastside Neighborhood Advisory Council and United Way. “I was on board to be a steward right away. “

Image provided by Melo Hogan from her ribbon cutting ceremony in January.

Image provided by Melo Hogan from her ribbon cutting ceremony in January.

Have you met anyone new because of your LFL? 

“I have! When I was trying and failing to curl the ribbons for my ribbon cutting, a new-in-the- neighborhood woman stopped her car and asked me if this is the LFL ribbon cutting that she saw on Facebook. She ended up helping me in curling the ribbons and followed our convoy and celebrated with us to several more ribbon cuttings that day.”

Has the LFL changed or influenced your relationship with your neighborhood or the people on your block? 

“I'd like to think so, yes. I have gained new friends through the 98404 LFL stewards and I am excited to get to know the rest that I haven't met yet.”

Melo’s story is just one of thousands and thousands worldwide. Here she is meeting new neighbors and engaging in community in yet another way.

Do you notice any “favorite” kinds of books for your neighborhood?

“I've noticed, in my library, the kids’ books are really popular, some YA are also on demand. Surprisingly, the cookbooks I've put in there are also gone.”

Take note for the book drive!

What are your wishes for your LFL or your vision for its purpose or influence? 

“There are a lot of people who go on walks in the neighborhood and kids coming and going to school; I'd love for our community library to be a pit stop for them. In a world where everyone is looking down on their phones, I'd love to influence more to open books and read.”

How can the Tacoma community support your LFL?

“I'd love for the community to stop by and share books, grab a book, put some treasures in it  (Tacoma rocks? Geocaching?) I'd love for it to be fully stocked and with a great variety of genres.”

Thank You, Melo!

We want to thank Melo and her family, right here, right away, for sharing this story of community, friendship, and partnership. If you’d like to contribute to the Hogan Family Community Library, you can participate in our book drive, or head over their way to give or take a book!


Look for bins with this label at Brooks Dental Studio and Windermere Abode!

Look for bins with this label at Brooks Dental Studio and Windermere Abode!

Duggan, Brooks & Books Little Free Library Book Drive

Part of our mission is to “Enhance the quality of Little Free Library material through intentional stocking of books that meet the various needs and interest of the community.”

This is where you come in! Any books you love, find interesting or valuable, and are ready to share are more than welcome.

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Book Drive Wish List

As Melo noted, books that fly off the shelves of the Hogan Family library are:

  • Children’s books - ages 5-10 especially (books with the reading level marked in the corner are great for young readers too!)

  • Middle School Level Books

  • Young Adult (YA) books

  • Cookbooks

Don’t feel limited by that, just use the list to get ideas going.

Melo also mentioned:

  • Tacoma Rocks

  • Geocaching

  • and a Great Variety of Genres

So let’s start collecting for the book drive!

Book Drive Locations

Dr. Jamie of Brooks Dental Studio is ready for you to fill up this Collection Bin with great books!

Dr. Jamie of Brooks Dental Studio is ready for you to fill up this Collection Bin with great books!

Brooks Dental Studio - 732 Broadway, Suite 101, Downtown Tacoma

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 7 am - 4 pm
Tuesday: 7 am - 1 pm

Brooks Dental Studio is on Antique Row and just below colorful Opera Alley. Drop off some books, then browse the vintage shops, or head toward S. 9th for coffee at Bostwick Cafe, or a treat at Original House of Donuts - then brush those teeth!

Find Dr. Jamie & stay in the loop about our project:

Facebook @brooksdentalstudio

Instagram @brooksdentalstudio

Web Site brooksdentalstudio.com

You’ll smile this big too when you come to the beautiful Windermere Abode office to donate books!

You’ll smile this big too when you come to the beautiful Windermere Abode office to donate books!

Windermere Abode - 2200 N 30th St, Suite 102, Old Town Tacoma

Monday - Friday: 9 am - 5 pm
Saturday: we often have a realtor on duty, so we’ll let you know via Instagram and Facebook if it’s a good Saturday to drop off some books!

Windermere Abode is in Tacoma’s beautiful Old Town, just a block up from the Old Town Dock on the Ruston Way Waterfront. Drop off some books, then take a walk on Ruston Way, or head across the street to The Spar for cocoa, coffee, or delicious Spar Chips!

Find Michael & Gretchen of Duggan Homes & stay in the loop about our project:

Facebook @dugganhomes

Instagram @dugganhomes

Web Site dugganhomes.com


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See You Soon!

In the coming weeks we’ll be featuring more local Little Free Libraries and their caretakers. We can’t wait to share their stories, and update our book drive wish list. Just let us know if you have any questions about donating books. We look forward to seeing you around Tacoma!