Douglas and Jean Chadwick are the co-founders of The Literacy Club, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that promotes literacy and works to end book deserts.
Douglas has built over 60 Little Free Libraries in the past several years. Many of them have found homes at local police stations and firehouses, and serve as an excellent example of Little Free Library’s Kids, Community and Cops program in action.
When Officer Chris Mead of the Redlands Police Department contacted him about creating a Little Free Library, they quickly realized that the department lobby was too small to comfortably fit a Little Free Library, and installing one outdoors didn’t make sense, either.
So, the two came up with a more radical idea: what about a trailer that could be transformed into a mobile library that the police could take to community events and hand out free books? It was the perfect solution!
The Redlands Police Department got most of their funding for this project from a local brewery named Hangar 24, which inspired the airplane theme of this giant mobile library.
Douglas then launched into sketching different designs and getting feedback from the department.
Can you make folding tables that extend out at an event to load books or materials? Well, yes! Douglas designed two tables that mimicked wings.
Can you make an airplane-style book cart that we can use to wheel books around? Of course! He created a cart that looked like an airplane, too.
Douglas and Officer Mead proved to make an excellent team. They even arranged to get elements of the Library donated from a retired pilot and Douglas’s nephew, who is in the U.S. Air Force.
As an experienced Little Free Library builder, we asked Douglas what he thinks is most important to include in every Library that he builds. He said that he always adds small creative touches, like custom doors, a special paint color, or other add-ons that fit the theme of the Library he’s building.
Most important, though, is the ability of the Library to withstand use over time. It has to be safe for kids and adults to use, but he also emphasizes using high-quality materials.
So, what does the final product look like? It’s pretty amazing.
What’s next for The Literacy Club? They’re currently running a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to build more mobile library trailers! Learn more about The Literacy Club.