Several months ago, I asked my Dad to build a Little Free Library. I’d seen a few around our town and a couple in our neighborhood and thought it would be a fun addition to our house too. The Little Libraries are small boxes that act as free libraries for passersby. There’s always an assortment of books that you are free to take to read and you are welcome to return them or add books of your own, if you wish. I love the concept and was excited to add one to our own little cul de sac.
Since his retirement a few years ago, my Dad’s gotten very in to woodworking. He’s started building various garden- and animal-friendly projects, such as bat boxes, bee houses and butterfly houses. But, this was his first library project. I sent him several websites with photos of other libraries so he could get a feel for what I was looking for.
He’s a pretty handy guy who holds on to a fair amount of spare parts and extra wood cuttings. This served him well with this project as he used spare plywood for the flooring, extra wood boards and plexiglass for the door. The only purchase was tongue and groove boards to construct the walls of the house. Even my parent’s neighbor got in on the action as he helped router the door of the house so the plexiglass fit in perfectly. My Dad also added a slanted roof to better prevent water from leaking in to the library.
He finished the house with a dark stain, then applied 2-3 coats of water sealer and added a clear sealant along the screws and edges to keep moisture out, since it would be exposed to the outdoor elements.
My mom then used her painting skills to cleverly paint each side with our resident cats, Khanchi (tuxedo cat) and Nilo (orange tabby), sleeping in bookcases with adult books represented on one side and classic children’s books painted on the other. She used acrylic paint for the art, then sprayed a clear acrylic spray on top to seal in the paint.
They drove the library out to our place from Illinois and my husband helped install it in our front garden area using a post hole digger. Our neighbor even came over to help with the installation by cutting extra wood pieces and helping center and drill the library on the post, making this a true community project!
I’ve long said that my parents should start up their own Etsy shop as a retirement project for painted woodworking projects, but that idea hasn’t seemed to gain much traction…yet!
We love our new addition to the neighborhood and are so appreciative of the amount of work that went in to the house and LOVE how it turned out! Its been so fun watching our neighbors and dog walkers check out the selection and pick out their next book! And our neighbors have even added some books of their own, making the library a fun neighborhood addition. We’ll try to make sure there is something for everyone in our library – adults, teens and young kids!
For more information about starting your own Little Library, please check out Little Free Library.
Here’s an assortment of photos of our beautiful little library!