An author friend had this link up on her facebook page, Little Free Library and now I am green with Little Free Library envy. The essential brilliant idea is to build a small waterproof container on a stand much like used for mailboxes, incorporate a plexiglass window for the door, and put free books inside for neighbors to stop by and take. And, they leave one. So there is a constant flux of books interchanging in this teeny weeny free library. So simple, so wonderful, so so much woodworking! I wrote an article some time ago about a similar idea in NYC–a phone-booth no longer usable had shelves built into where you take a book, and leave one. But there is no protection for these books, the elements can get to them. Plus, the entire thing has been taken by more than one perp, leaving nothing behind. With these little boxes, everything is contained in one heavy wood piece, and staked into hard earth. Stealing the entire thing is not feasible. Naturally, someone could take every single book out and leave nothing. And I bet that’s happened many a time throughout the places that have erected the Little Free Libraries. But, that’s the chance you take, and hope that most of your friends and neighbors are more along the lines of Norman Rockwell, and less like, Norman Bates.
Each Little Free Library can be customized to your own design, or you can order a kit. Kits are naturally expensive, but probably easier to construct since all parts are
cut and ready to go. My design would be whimsical, fairy tale like, to fit the rest of the curb appeal where I live. Up against the sidewalk I maintain a meticulous garden known as Gnomesville. Elaborate design is employed and the town has now grown to include a public library, historical society, art museum, and fairy circus, complete with flying acrobats. Am I ‘tetched in the head? Some on my block would attest with a gigantic YES! Others enjoy the little world of imagination, especially kids younger than 8. After that, they are far too sophisticated to admit they get a kick out of a gnome pet-shop or wizard’s palace. So, considering this motif, plus the Alice in Wonderland section on the side in the back yard with statues of Alice, The Queen of Hearts, mushrooms, and flamingos, as well as huge teacups holding plants, I think fantasy would be the natural way to go. And if there is still some doubt–the large sign on the siding of the house itself proclaiming–Fairy Tale Forest, seals the deal. (The sign is a real one from a closed storybook land in North New Jersey.)
So, how to begin? Well, the most important factor, is to convince the husband to build it. If persuasion doesn’t work, then threats will be employed–what they’ll consist of, I’ve not yet thought out–but I’m sure I have plenty in my repertoire. After his, ah, consent, then plans need to be drawn up, or sketched, or usually in our case, winged. Supplies must be bought. Wood cut. Nails pounded. And all that kind of jazz. Once completed, then I take over. Paint and style are my particular strengths, or so I believe. If not true, don’t tell me, I like to live a delusional life. After all is finished, and a brand new Little Free Library is established in the neighborhood, with books donated by me, I will wait with baited breath for the first patron. And knowing the individuals living on this block, I will suffocate before someone decides to read.
Not the point. Who cares if no one around here decides to partake of this little jewel? Well, I would care, but if the word is gotten out, maybe individuals who do read will stop by, and a library will take root. I haven’t been this excited since a Cecily Mary Barker retired fairy popped up on ebay for a song! The Chestnut Fairy made the perfect tumbler in the circus.
As lighthearted in tone as the article is, I am dead serious about wanting to build one of these for the front of my mother’s home. My mom was the one who taught me to
love mysteries, it’s only fitting that her love be offered to others who happen to pass by. And maybe their passion will rub off one me, when they leave a book, say, of Podiatry Techniques or 520 Uses for Waxpaper. It’s the magical unknown of the written word that inspires me. And if I can no longer be a bookman, having my own lending library could be the next best thing. I’ll keep you posted on any progress!