Sometime during last summer, I heard of an awesome initiative called Little Free Library; see http://www.littlefreelibrary.org/. I very much wanted to start my own Little Free Library, but, alas, I live in an apartment complex and couldn’t install one in my front yard. But than an idea, a brilliant, colossal idea!, came to me this fall. One of my friends received a grant to start a community garden last spring and what better place to put a community library than in a community garden? I e-mailed my friend and asked if she and the other garden cofounders would be interested in having a nature-based Little Free Library in their garden and they loved the idea. (If you’re into nature or food and live in a city, I would highly recommend looking for opportunities to get involved with a community garden, by the way.)
When I came home for Christmas, my dad and I used some leftover plywood and building supplies – between my parents’ ranch, rental properties, and the house we just built for Grandma, there are plenty of construction materials around – to build the Little Free Library. It took about 8 hrs, in total, and all we bought was a set of hinges from Lowe’s. My dad did most of the cutting – our circular saw is too heavy for me to manage safely and I have a weird fear of table saws, so I only used the jigsaw. We put it together using screws and then caulked all the joints to make it absolutely waterproof. I didn’t do a very good job cleaning up the caulk, but it’s going to be painted so it should be fine. (If we had been staining instead, we would have used wood glue to seal the joints.)
We didn’t put any plexiglass in the door; it was the one component we lacked and since we finished it Christmas day, all the hardware stores were closed. The plans were a good starting point, but we had to refer several times to the pictures available online and I relied heavily on my dad’s carpentry knowledge to fill in the blanks. Also, we used 3/4″ plywood instead of 5/8″, so we had to alter the final measurements slightly.
I’m really excited that we built this and ecstatic that I’m able to get involved with the Little Free Libraries! Building one may not be practical in terms of time, material, knowledge, and/or equipment but if you know of one around you I do encourage you to take or leave a book.
The garden wanted to paint and install the library in order to make it a community project, so I just have the “unfinished” finished project right now, but here it is!
The next steps are to drop it off for painting, install, register, and then fill with nature and gardening books! While the gardeners are painting, I’m going to ask local nurseries and bookstores if they would like to donate a book or two to the library. I’ll try to keep the blog updated as this progresses further.