Picture of Little Free Library
Join the Little Free Library movement by building your own.  Thousands of people have already done so.  Here's an article in our local newspaper about this one.  The size can be anything from a cubic foot up, so there's lots of flexibility in design and materials.

The Little Free Library web site has good tips and plans for builders and I used those as a starting point.  Mine is a little larger and has these design characteristics: Materials:
  • Half sheet of 5/8" exterior plywood for walls, floor, and roof
  • Recycled pine for trim, shelf, and braces
  • Recycled asphalt shingles
  • Recycled aluminum flashing
  • Recycled mirror frame for door
  • Hinges and hook for door
  • Weatherstrip rubber foam self-stick tape for door
  • Clear acrylic for door
  • Push glazier points for door
  • Box of #8 x 1-1/2" flat head brass wood screws
  • Wood glue
  • Caulk
  • Enamel paint for exterior
  • Translucent oil stain for interior
  • Recycled 2x8 for base
  • 4"x6"x8' pressure-treated post
  • Lag screws for post, braces, and base
  • Bag of gravel mix cement
  • Circular saw.  A table saw would be even better but I don't have one.
  • Carpenter's square
  • Tape measure
  • 1/4" drill with Phillips bit, drill bits for pilot holes and flat boring bit to counterbore lag screws
  • Phillips screwdriver.
  • Paint brushes and rags
  • Caulking gun
  • Level
  • Socket wrench
Update:  This Little Free Library has held up well in Vermont's harsh climate.  After a year it needed just a little touch-up paint.
1-40 of 48Next »
But ours is take a book leave a book
There is one in my neighbourhood!
JonH2O8 months ago
I really like this but i think this plan is too advanced for me. :( too many DERR moments reading the instructions.
JonH2O JonH2O8 months ago
The 2"x2"x20-3/4" brace isn't listed in the materials list.
Moem1 year ago

Great Instructable! I have just built an outdoor bookshelf of my own, also mostly made from reused materials, I'll add a picture.


thank you for sharing, in Rotterdam ( Holland) , i started a project named BoekenHuisjesProject. My dream is a walking route with a lots of free library's

lperez232 years ago
Thanks for the great tips! For those of you who like to draw your ideas on big paper like I do. I suggest taking a look at print-graph-paper.com they have graph paper templates that go up to poster size.
Great Idea, We have one set up here in Christchurch, NZ, as part of the Gap Filler project. Putting interesting things in place of buildings that collapsed during or were demolished after our Earthquake. http://www.gapfiller.org.nz/happy-first-birthday-book-exchange-2/
alanwbaker (author)  latexmallard3 years ago
I love the fridge! We're going to visit Christchurch in January. Where is it located?
Currently on the corner of Kimore and Barbadoes Streets, just outside what used to be the CBD. The Gap fillers are likely to move around has more buildings are demolished and the reconstruction starts.
alanwbaker (author)  latexmallard2 years ago
Hi Latexmallard,
I saw your refrigerator library when we visited Christchurch--very creative!
We in NZ look forward to seeing you when you come.
There is a free library in Lyall Bay, Wellington.


It is things like this that keep communities alive. Can’t do that with a Kobo.
where is this located? seems a waste to go through all this trouble if no one is going to use it.
alanwbaker (author)  excellentsky2 years ago
Hi Excellentsky,

This Little Free Library is located in Wilmington, Vermont.  To see the exact location and learn more about it see http://library.alanbaker.net.  You'll also see a picture of the LFL in winter.  I'm pleased to say that it remained water-tight throughout that season.  It just needed a little paint touchup where the wet snow had packed up against the bottom of the door.

It's important to place your LFL where there is pedestrian traffic.  This one is by a gravel road near a lake and hundreds of books came and went during its first few months.  And now that the snows are gone, pedestrians are back and books are flying out the door again.
makermike3 years ago
I'm building a Little Free Library at the moment. One addition I'm putting in is a LED light that turns on when the door opens. Can't wait until it's finished and set up!
alanwbaker (author)  makermike3 years ago
What a great idea--I wish mine was close enough to electrical power to do that! How about an arduino with wi-fi that counts the number of times the door opens?
I hacked a dollar store LED "stick-up" type light to include an external switch that closes when the door opens. Two AAs should run it for quite a while.
You could get battery power or solar if the sun is available. Put a switch on the door.
How about a idigtal camera that takes the person photo when tehy open teh door and loads it to a website via wifi connection. ? :)
Nice idea- Check out the Electric Imp that is coming out to wifi it on the cheap. If you can do that then a little nice connection to IfThisThenThat could make your library tweet by itself or...

Myself on the other hand somehow see a beauty in the little free library being down-to-earth and low-tech. Maybe less data on it could be an attractive mystery.
alanwbaker (author)  edjez3 years ago
Oooo! The Electric Imp/IFTT idea sounds good--I'd like to use it on another project. But this Little Free Library will continue offline on our unpaved road.

But the concept has caught the imagination of others here in the Green Mountain State--it was just featured on the front page of our local newspaper!

Very creative! It is a great way to reach out to the community. When I went to Germany I saw one similar to the one you made. I just think that it is both beautiful and will bring the community together to share their favorite reads. Fantastic idea!
ronopotomus3 years ago
Awesome idea! I'm gonna give it a go.
I love what you've created! I will be making one for our yard in Sydney, Australia. I first saw your idea on Technabob. Another thought I had was to create a free swap box for geeks to exchange components or ideas.
alanwbaker (author)  bricabracwizard3 years ago
Good on ya, Mate. I'll be in Sydney in February--maybe I'll see your LFL then!
Thanks! Do come and pay us a visit. If you need a place for a couple o' days let me know!
alanwbaker (author)  bricabracwizard3 years ago
Thanks. We'll mostly hang out with bro-in-law in Figtree plus the flash tour of Oz. ;-)
cpine5223 years ago
might alos be fun to onclude book crossing in your projects.http://www.bookcrossing.com

No affiliation it is just fun to watch where you books go.
Moem cpine5223 years ago
Hah! I was just going to post that! :-D
Here's my BookCrossing I'ble. And yes, Little Free Libraries and BookCrossing are a match made in booklovers' heaven.
I read about these in the Seattle newspaper and really wanted to make one. Great instructable.
bajablue3 years ago
I love everything about this project!

Beautiful work, Alan!!!
blodefood3 years ago
Why does it say around the USA when there are many in Canada, too?
alanwbaker (author)  blodefood3 years ago
Fair enough, blodefood. I've changed the wording. 8-)
suayres3 years ago
Terrific idea! Thanks for posting this. I didn't know there even was such a thing, and it's a brilliant concept.
kampusnosis3 years ago
I like it. Great idea.
jblessf3 years ago
Thank you for sharing with all of us. There is still faith in people.
I agree, amen.
Bosun Rick3 years ago
Just in case any of you can't ever seem to get around to doing this kind of project, remember there are "Free Libraries" in the Veterans Hospitals, and the Civilian Hospitals in nearly every city in the world. Just contact their Volunteer Services Office to donate books for our heroes and shut-ins. BOSUN RICK SEZ THANKS!
Ortzinator3 years ago
This would be great for an apartment building.
georogers3 years ago
There are two places that I've seen a similar deal.One is a library in Wells River Vt. where the librarian has an old greeting card rack on the Librarie's front porch wher she and others leave books for the taking.The other place that I've run into was a subway station in Porter Square in Cambridge Ma. wher coincidently another greeting card rack was left with a sign that said "Take A Book,Leave A Book".Good stuff!
1-40 of 48Next »