Build your own library

Wooden box with books inside. Sunflowers painted on the side of the box. For those of you inspired by our recent magazine article on Little Free Libraries, here’s a quick how-to list to get you started:

Where do I get a box?

The standardized boxes often seen in our neighborhoods come from a nonprofit group called Little Free Library. To give you an idea of the financial commitment, the double-decker model often thought of as the standard model starts at $320. You can shop the group’s kits here.

Can’t I make my own?

Absolutely! If you are feeling crafty, old newspaper boxes or other containers can be repainted and repurposed. Carpentry instructions for various models also exist. For inspiration, follow this link to some very creative builds.

Where do I get the books?

According to Gina Florez of Osage Road, a steward of two of Mt. Lebanon’s sites, thrifting is a great way to build up stock (especially those coveted best sellers and children’s books), but don’t discount your neglected reads and neighbors’ willingness to participate. For example, Florez has a patron who is a dedicated mystery reader and generous giver. Find some tried-and-true suggestions here.

How do I get the word out?

Social media pages for your neighborhood are a free and easy way to reach out for reading patrons and book elves who will leave you stock.

Colorful paint jobs can also attract attention. For example, one box on Lindendale just above Glaids has cheerful sunflowers painted on the sides that brighten the box and raise visibility. Here’s a link to paint and varnish types.

What if I have a question you didn’t answer?

Like any project that requires planning, uncertainty will likely pop up along the way, so keep this searchable list of common queries and vetted answers handy.