I Made a Little Library

My friends John and Lee live in the historic 1937 Ortiz Taylor House and commissioned me to build a little library to go out front. They wanted one that looked like the architect’s drawing for a never built garage, so I did the best I could do to make the little library look like a southwestern adobe.

A neighbor gifted me a nice new piece of 3/4 plywood and most of the rest of the components came from scrap wood I had laying around. The universe kinda came together to make this project happen. I used simple rabbet joints done on the tablesaw to create the plywood box. For the doors I used mortise and tenon joints. I picked up some piece of metal flashing material to cobble together a roof.

I sketched out the plans at a cafe while Kelly was at an appointment and did the final plan in Sketchup to make sure that I didn’t make a stupid mistake cutting the plywood. As a woodshop teacher once said to a class I was taking, “Always have a plan.”

If you’re going to put up one of these things I’d suggest a solid base set in concrete as books can get heavy.

Little libraries are one of the best things to come out of the city repair movement. I really enjoy the ones in our neighborhood and I do a kind of circuit of them on my dog walks. Even if I don’t leave or take something it’s always fun to see what shows up.

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  1. Nicely done! I love the character you built into the little library–and it’s well-stocked, to boot!

  2. I can’t help but take a peek in every LFL I pass. I don’t usually take or leave anything, but I always look. They’re where my friend Hannah gets basically ALL her reading material though. I’ve talked about building one, but never have committed to it, largely because–even though it seems like a fairly straightforward job–I am not much of a carpenter-type. I could sew up a fabric one, sure thing…but wood? I dunno. Yours is very charming. I love that it was modeled off an architectural rendering like that. Very cool.

    • I’m with you, BLD! I have sooo many books to offer but no materials and no building skills.

      I actually looked to see if a library box was something I could buy to make my books available but they’re in the $300 range with a post. $300 is far too much for me to spend to give away free stuff. Still, I know the books are good — mostly very recent best sellers and prize winners/nominees — and still have lots of useful life.

  3. Street libraries are quite popular in the suburbs around me in Melbourne, Australia.
    I like looking for cook books. Not that I need any more

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