Best-selling author Robin Ryan starts community book exchange

Best-selling author Robin Ryan poses with her Little Free Library in front of her Sammamish home.  - Kelly Montgomery, Issaquah/Sammamish Reporter
Best-selling author Robin Ryan poses with her Little Free Library in front of her Sammamish home.
— image credit: Kelly Montgomery, Issaquah/Sammamish Reporter

After moving to Sammamish in May, best-selling author Robin Ryan thought of no better way to share her love of reading than by opening the community’s first Little Free Library. And it's right in her front yard.

“I saw an article about Little Free Library and it really resonated with me,” Ryan said. “It just clicked in my head and I said, ‘I have to do this.’”

Resembling a large mailbox, a Little Free Library is a free community book-share where anyone can stop by and grab a book. When they’re done, they can either bring the book back, pass it on to a friend or keep it.

The concept was started in 2009 by two Wisconsin men whose goal is to eventually have Little Free Libraries all over the world.

“It's a nice way to meet people in the community and spark a love of reading,” Ryan said, who explained how many of today's younger generations are “aliterate,” meaning they can read, but they don't.

“A love of reading is something that can be easily lost,” she said.

Ryan didn't always know she wanted to be a writer. Growing up in upstate New York, neither of Ryan's parents were college educated. But her father taught her that education was the root of success, and during a time of predominately male college graduates, his support meant everything. Ryan became a student at Boston College during the first few years of coed enrollment.

“Going to school in Boston really changed my life,” she said.

After receiving her bachelor's and master's degrees, Ryan became a guidance counselor, eventually working her way through Washington schools such as Eastside Catholic School and the University of Washington. She moved into public speaking, where she was told that if she wanted to be a successful public speaker long-term, she had to write a book. Ryan had taught a class on job interviewing and used her class guide as a basis for a book outline. In 1994, “60 Seconds & Your Hired!” was published.

Since then, Ryan has written five more books and appeared on more than 1,500 television and radio programs, including Oprah, Dr. Phil, Fox News and CNN. She continues to help people as a career counselor and national speaker, but her true passion lies in her love of reading. And it shows in her Little Free Library.

Ryan explained how books have a certain feel and touch that make them irreplaceable. Her favorite? "Love Story" by Erich Segal.

Ryan said that in a good book “the characters are so real they stay with you forever.” She wants to bring that feeling to the community through her book share.

“The whole idea is to promote reading,” she said.

Ryan has started her library by filling it with some of her favorite books, a combination of bestsellers, romance novels, dramas, children’s books and much more.

All the books are stamped with a personalized sticker from Ryan: “Always for free, never for sale.”

Ryan lives in the Timberline community at 20537 N.E. 27th Place and encourages readers to take full advantage of her Little Free Library. To start your own LFL, visit


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