I was so excited when my friend Lindsey asked me to help her with her Little Free Library project. Little Free Library (LFL) is a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange. In order to start a LFL in her neighborhood, Lindsey needed a cabinet to put in her front yard to house the books. LFL cabinets come in many shapes and sizes, but the most common version is a small wooden box of books. Anyone may take a book or bring a book to share.
Lindsey asked me to build a LFL for her and although I was a bit nervous at first (my first build for someone other than myself!!!) I really wanted to help her. We traded emails, texts, and got together a couple of times so that I had a pretty good idea of what she was looking for. I knew she wanted a LFL that would match her home, have shingles, a door with four panes and a shelf. From there I found plans in a book about Little Free Libraries that another friend loaned to me.
The basic idea is to build a box to house the books where they will stay dry. Everything after that is up to the builder. Many LFL have doors with windows so you can see the books inside. The plan called for 1/2 inch plywood and that’s about it. Mine and Lindsey’s additions called for a plexiglas window, shingles, clapboard and shingles on top. We also both loved the look of a cupola. The materials cost less than $100, including hardware and hinges, but I had a lot of materials on-hand, like tar paper, shingles, caulk and plexiglas, so it could potentially cost more to build.
I enjoyed this project for many reasons: I was helping out a friend; I had a plan to follow with cuts listed; I had all the tools necessary at my disposal; and I was able to be a creative. I never could have done this project a year ago, but my Lefty Loosey DIY projects over the past several months have given me a lot of confidence and practice using the power tools that were needed. And as always, a bit of advice from dear ole Dad and a lot of support from the Kids and Husband didn’t hurt either!
As of January 2016, there were over 36,000 registered Little Free Library book exchanges in all 50 U.S. states and over 70 countries around the world. As of May 8, 2016, there are 36,001 Little Free Libraries, including this new one in Farmington, NY! 🙂 You can visit the new Phillip’s Landing LFL at 1442 Fraser Way, Farmington, NY or check out the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PhillipsLandingLFLibrary/posts/812072918898549
Let me take you through the build…
- 1/2″ x 4′ x 8′ sanded plywood
- hinges and door knob
- 1 5/8″ exterior screws
- 3/4, 1 1/4 and 2″ brad nails
- pocket hole screws
- water-proof wood glue
- water-resistant or water-proof caulk
- plexiglas (on-hand)
- tar paper and shingles (on-hand)
- 3- 1″ x 4″ x 8′ for beefed up door and “siding”
- Exterior paint
- 4″ x 4″ x 8′ pressure treated post
- 2″ x 6″ x 8′ pressure treated
Cost for Materials:
- Table Saw
- Miter Saw
- Brad Nailer
- Hand Sander
- Caulk gun