When Linda Flanagan and her husband Michael Brown decided to move back to Colorado after retirement, Timnath was admittedly not their first pick.

Linda was born and raised in Wisconsin, and moved to Evergreen, CO after college. While she and Michael have lived all over the west, they always hoped to retire one day back in Evergreen.

However, when they were ready to purchase a home in Colorado five years ago, the small mountain town was out of their price range. They started looking at alternatives and ended up settling on a place in Timnath.

“When we bought the house, we didn’t know anything about the town,” she said. “But we liked that there was a pond in the backyard, and it was more affordable. We didn’t know Timnath was going to be so good.”

A few years ago, Linda was out for a walk and noticed one of the Little Free Library boxes around town. She’d heard about the program—a global book-sharing system with more than 100,000 mini-libraries globally—and as an avid reader, she was very interested.

Unfortunately, the library she’d stumbled upon wasn’t well maintained and there were only a few books inside. She called Town Planner Kevin Koelbel to find out if she could help, which was how she ended up getting the volunteer role of maintaining all five of Timnath’s little libraries.

She regularly checks on each library to make sure books are being stocked and replaced. When numbers run low, she sends out a Facebook message for donations and within days, more boxes show up at her front door. One of her favorite perks of the job is getting to be the first to comb through donations.

“I’ve discovered some amazing books I’d never heard of which is one of the nice things about being a steward,” she said. “I can’t afford to buy books the way I go through them so I take full advantage of borrowing from the donations.”

The libraries function with a simple system. Anyone can take a book from the book box and replace it with another, or return the book they’ve borrowed. While it’s all on the honor system, Linda has never had a problem with libraries being cleaned out or vandalized. The only issue she’s had to tackle is making sure the books being donated are appropriate for all ages—she’s confiscated several copies of 50 Shades of Grey over the last few years.

Outside of running the libraries, Linda is also a painter, spending hours at her easel painting landscapes with pastels—a hobby that she said with a laugh, “keeps her busy and her pocketbook empty.” Her husband enjoys spending time working on his model railroad and they both take daily walks around the neighborhood with their dog, Amy.

While their daily life hasn’t changed all that much since COVID-19, Linda finds herself extra grateful to be living in the Timnath community, where they’ve experienced first-hand what it looks like to care for one another in community. They’ve had neighbors deliver groceries, check in on them and really make sure they have everything they need.

“We’re so lucky to be here, when you consider other people’s situations in terms of losing jobs and not being able to feed themselves or their families,” she said. “We know where our next meal is coming from, we’re healthy and we have a great place to walk. We are so grateful.”