During one of our board meetings at LumenSparQ, a board member introduced us to the concept of a tiny home-built lending library where people in the community can borrow, take, and also share back books. Intrigued by this idea, I did a quick google search which turned up a fantastic nonprofit organization called Little Free Library. This organization spawned the LFL movement and currently registers and maps out these libraries across the world.
While the LFL organization sells its own libraries and kits to build, the maker in me knew that this was a project I wanted to take on myself. After drafting some design ideas based on the LFL models, I gathered some scrap materials from my maker space and strolled out the table saw, sander, measuring tools, and went to work.
With a bit of leftover acrylic, I laser cut the windows and engraved a “Little Free Library” design into the top window.
I designed my LFL to hold large picture books, as well as smaller novels and paperbacks. Given the limited amount of books we planned to house, my dimensions are likely smaller than most libraries. Here is what I used:
Front: 24″ tall by 20″ wide
Back: 20″ tall by 20″ wide
Sides: 14″ wide with height matching front to back from 26″ to 20″
For the roof, I measured out 3″ larger on each side.
Overall, I might recommend going a bit larger for a standard library.
On the inside, I took a few more scraps of 1/2″ plywood to create shelving, as seen here:
This shelf arrangement allows us to place larger picture books to the left and smaller books in two levels on the right.
Not to miss any opportunity for putting up a meaningful quote or two, I used my Cricut to vinyl cut a few letters for the side panels. To hide imperfections, a bit of paint always comes in handy, which inspired my black lines and curves.
Finishing off with black hinges, handle, and magnetic door latch, the LFL just needed installation outside. I don’t consider myself an expert in this area, so I hired a skillful handyman to pour the concrete, mount the post, and fasten the library in place.
Our library is up! It’s been fun to watch people stop by to check it out, most hesitant to do more than look. Time will tell how much use it gets. We are now an officially registered LFL with a spot on the map.
There are so many creative little libraries across the country and the world. If you are looking to build one for yourself or your local school, check out the official LFL website and their Instagram for design ideas.
If you have any questions regarding my particular design and installation, please feel free to reach out or comment below.