Brooklyn resident, Chris Whong, wanted to bring character to his block and create a community space for his neighbors. After seeing Little Free Libraries in the surrounding neighborhood, he sought out to steward one of his own.
“I figured I’d give it a shot, and a couple hours of research showed me that it was achievable with a little bit of effort and money.”
In an article published with Medium, Chris shares his Little Free Library story from fundraising to completion. Much of Chris’s article is shared below.
We liked the two-story library design in Little Free Library’s online store. We wanted a kit because it costs less and would be a lot more fun to assemble with neighbors. We wanted composite materials so it would be more durable and not require fresh paint every few years. After shipping, the library itself would be about $400. I budgeted another $100 for lumber for the base and other supplies, yielding a total budget of $500 USD.
To raise the funds, we did a bagel drive. I’ve been baking homemade bagels since COVID lockdowns began, and it’s become a routine task each weekend to make 6 bagels. A few months back, we decided to sell them to the block just to see who would be interested and to see how big of a batch we could handle at one time (the answer is 3 dozen!). That experiment was a success, but was a pretty exhausting ordeal, so I decided we wouldn’t be doing it again any time soon. The little library fundraiser would resurrect the bagel operation, and once we announced it, there was tremendous support!
We sold another three dozen homemade bagels, asking only for a donation with each bagel order. We were able to raise the necessary funds in just a few days! We ordered the library kit, and started planning for the installation.
Planning, Building, & Painting
The library itself only requires a hammer and a screwdriver/screw gun to assemble. The stand is a bit more involved, and I ended up drafting my own design based on various designs I found online. The library sits on a 2×6 cut to 15″ wide, with mitered edges. The 2×6 then sits on the 4×4 post and is also supported by two 45-degree 4×4 supports. In order to avoid having to do any complex angled countersinking of lag screws, I went with decorative angle brackets to attach the angled supports to the main support.
We started at 9:30 am on a Saturday, with a crew of four adults and a handful of kids. We simultaneously attacked the three tasks of digging the hole, assembling the base, and assembling the library kit. Everything went smoothly, and after 90 minutes or so we were ready to set the post. We did a final measurement make sure the library door would clear the fence, made the cut, and set it in place with stakes. After letting the cement dry, we removed the temporary braces and attached the library with wood screws. Build complete!
We decided to go with a blue and white color scheme, and a design that is an homage to a nearby mural that is beloved by residents of our block. Sadly, the mural is coming down due to new construction at the property it sits on, so we thought it would be nice to let it live on through our library.
This project went from idea to funded to built in less than a month! We announced that the library was open for business, and within 24 hours it was loaded with books. It’s also on the Little Free Library registry, charter #123458. I hope you found this useful, good luck with your library project!