When you’ve been walking around your community park or neighborhood, have you ever noticed those adorable little book cabinets that perch up out of the ground like birdhouses? Most of the time, when you notice these, they’ll have a plaque that reads “Little Free Library,” because they are built in association with the thriving nonprofit organization that yearns to make books more accessible for people all over the nation.
I’ve seen these book cupboards around my neighborhood before, but I only just learned that anyone can participate in building and placing one in their own community!
The first step for this project is to decide where you want to build, and get the space approved. You may have to contact your city directly, or call your HOA to get permission. Once you get the OK to build, you can start planning and designing!
As you plan, keep in mind that Little Free Library is a trademarked name and there is a registration fee to attach the name placard to your own project, but it’s a small one-time payment of $40. After that, you can design your library to your heart’s content! (So long as your city or HOA don’t have any restrictions).
If you’re a novice builder, you might look into purchasing a kit, which can be found through the Little Free Library website. There are a few designs to choose from, like Amish Shed or Prairie Two-Story. However, you will save some money if you can salvage parts from your backyard scrap pile, local junkyard or ReStore. Little Free Libraries aren’t only on a mission to make books more accessible, but to showcase the use and quality of repurposed materials, so get creative!
If you’re handy and looking to build your own little library, the website has plenty of blueprints and measurements to help you build a durable one. For the most basic blueprint, the materials and tools that you’ll need are: ¾” plywood, ¾” X 1.5” solid lumber, plexi glass, self-closing hinges, screws or nails, table saw, miter saw, power drill or hammer, post hole digger, and a level.
If that list overwhelms you, or you don’t have the space or tools to work, check out the article, “Little Free Libraries on a Shoestring Budget” for some creative ways to re-purpose all kinds of things from old mailboxes to kitchen appliances! You can also check out the Pinterest board for more instructions and bounteous inspiration!
There are so many ways to make your own Little Free Library and enhance your community through the magic of books, so what are you waiting for?
YouTube Channel: KPBS News
Featured image via The Aha! Connection