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YOUR FAMILY ACTIVITIES

By Lara Krupicka

Shhh! How to Create Your Own Little free Library

M

y family loves to read. And we love sharing great books with others and discovering new reads. So when I heard about the Little Free Library movement, I knew we had to get involved. These small bookfilled structures situated along neighborhood sidewalks encourage passers-by to take home any book they fancy and invite them to participate by donating books in return if they wish. In our case though, we didn't only want to visit a Little Free Library – we wanted to host one. If you would like to do the same, then read on!

Little libraries come in all shapes and sizes. You could put out a plastic container of books with a sign inviting people to take a book. Or, if you have basic construction skills or know someone who does, you could build a wooden library. Just follow these eleven steps. DECIDE ON A DESIGN. What type of roof will your library have? Will the peak face the front or the side? Double door or single? One shelf or two? Do you want to make it in the shape of your favorite object? How much of an overhang will you leave on your roof? This may sound like a lot to consider for such a simple building. However, it all makes a difference when it comes down to construction. Once you have made those decisions, you will want to plot out measurements for each piece of your library floor, sides, door, window, back,

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roof. A common finished size for Little Free Libraries is 20" wide x 18" to 28" tall x 12" to 15" deep. GATHER MATERIALS. You will need: • 5/8" plywood for the structure itself • 4" x 4" post for mounting it on • nails or screws • wood glue • caulk • exterior-grade paint • hinges • door handle • acrylic sheet for a window in the door • hook and eye to latch door closed Some library stewards aim for an environment-friendly creation by salvaging construction supplies from what they already have.

CUT AND SAND THE WOOD. Measure and mark the dimensions of each piece. Then, using a circular or table saw, cut the pieces to size. For the front of your library, you will also need to mark the opening for your door and cut it out. Then, in the piece you removed, you will want to cut the opening for your window. For the window itself, cut a piece of acrylic one inch larger than your opening (to overlap ½" on all sides). If you don't

own a saw and can't borrow one, bring your measurements when you purchase the wood. Many lumber and big box stores will cut to order for free or a nominal fee. Once your wood is cut, sand it. Start with a rough grade of sandpaper and sand each piece, making passes with increasingly finer grits. Your patrons will appreciate not having their clothing catch on a rough door or splinters in their fingers as they pull a book out.

Rochester & Genesee Valley Parent July/August 2016