Little Free Library FAQs

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Starting a Library

Learn how to start your own Little Free Library. We have a helpful step-by-step diagram that walks you through the process from start to finish.

How much it costs to start a library depends on whether you are building your own library or buying a pre-built library or kit from our online store.

  • If you’re building your own library, then your main cost is materials. That could range from $5 if you use recycled materials to $150 if you buy all new lumber and hardware. If you use recycled materials, make sure they’re high enough quality to be weatherproof. Cheap particle board or interior plywood won’t last outdoors. We recommend using exterior plywood, pine or cedar and painting it with standard exterior house paint for weather protection.
  • There is a one-time payment of about $40 USD to register each library that you build. When you register, you get a charter sign engraved with a unique charter number. Your unique charter number gives you the option to add your library to the world map. You also get access to discounted books and a private Facebook support group.
  • Think about installation costs, too, like a wooden post. Those items usually cost around $30 at your local home goods store or buy a pre-assembled post from our online store. Check out our recommended library installation instructions, too.
  • If you purchase a library through our website, library prices start around $250 USD and your library is automatically registered. A charter sign is included with your library purchase, though it may ship separately.

Every library that we sell through our online store comes with a charter sign and a steward’s packet included, though they may ship separately from the library. Every charter sign is engraved with a unique charter number. Installation materials, like a wooden post and hardware, are not included. We sell posts as separate product in our online store. We have installation instructions on the build page of our website.

Your community is full of resources. Use them! Contact a local organization who might build a library for you, such as:

  • Girl Scout or Boy Scout troops
  • Local carpenters or artists
  • Schools, churches or community centers
  • Rotary clubs, 4-H Clubs, Kiwanis Clubs or Lions Clubs

And don’t count yourself out; you can build one even if you’re not handy! Try re-purposing something that already has a door and space for books inside. Check out this blog post for ideas.

Maintenance

If your library is made of wood, then we recommend using a standard house paint (water-based or oil-based paints will both work fine). They’re durable, inexpensive, and available at any hardware or home goods store. Before you paint, start by applying a coat of primer. Primer is designed to bond well with wood. Then, apply a few coats of paint on top of the primer. No coats of varnish or sealant are needed if you’re using house paint. (The only time we recommend using varnish is if you painted your library with acrylic paints that aren’t designed for outdoor use.) You could choose to stain your library instead, but it won’t last as long as paint will.

Category: Maintenance

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