|Project by JayT||posted 05-22-2016 05:31 PM||784 views||2 times favorited||10 comments|
The amazing things that can happen when people and government agencies work together instead of fighting each other.
Last year, our woodworker’s guild was trying to find a community service project. After looking at a few options, we decided to join the Little Free Library movement and build some for our town. The plan was to build several and find people willing to “host” them in their yards. I volunteered to build one and this is the result.
The library is built from MDO and western red cedar. I originally had planned to do something architectural, but then thought that if these are mainly for kids, it needed to be more attractive to them. After considering several ideas, I decided to build something that might almost be . . . . . Seussian? . . . . . . Seuss-esque? . . . . inspired by Dr. Seuss! The idea was to end up with something that could come out of a child’s imagination and the only kids I know that imagine houses with right angles and square corners grow up to be engineers :-)
Anywho, that plan made for some challenges in construction, but I think the end result was worth it. All the sides and bottom came out of one sheet of MDO. The trim and window frames are western red cedar. The cedar roof was made from glued up panels that then had the shingle detail done by going cross grain with a Stanley 78 rabbetting plane. The copper flashing was donated by fellow LJ BigRedKnothead. I had posted on a thread about needing just a small amount and he dropped a piece leftover from a previous project in the mail. Thanks, Red.
A solid wood floor was done to have a smooth surface for the books to slide in an out. Hey, we’re going high class here. In order to finish it off, “windows” were added that have pictures from some popular children’s stories so that it looks like they are inside the house. Finally, I painted on a variety of fantastical flowers to decorate up the blank spaces a bit more.
So if we decided on this last year, why did it take so long? Read on for an uplifting tale.
Early on, one of the members contacted the city to find out what local requirements there were for putting these up. Most of us know how much red tape can be involved with city codes, so we wanted to be prepared before starting out. Well, someone at the city mentioned the project to others and the next thing you know, the public library is volunteering to stock the LFL’s and make sure they stay stocked. They had done a few with the cooperation of a local cabinet shop several years ago and had been wanting to expand the program, but didn’t know the best way to go about it. Our volunteering gave them just the opportunity they had been wanting. Meanwhile, the city parks department offered to have the LFL’s put in the neighborhood parks. Since there are parks scattered all over town and kids and families are frequent visitors, they thought these would be good places. What a deal!
The only request the library had was that they wanted to spread out the installations and do one every 2-3 months so that they could prepare a stock of books over time and gradually expand the maintenance routes. Hence, the delay in construction—two other guild members have completed and installed theirs, so I just had to wait until the public library was ready for the next one. So we now have three installed Little Free Libraries and have committed to three more. At that point, the public library wants to re-evaluate and see how the program is working. If it is going well, we may do a few more.
That’s the project and a positive story of government and citizen cooperation. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy.
-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."