Little Free Libraries & Tiny Sheds

If you like sheds and you like books, then you will certainly enjoy Little Free Libraries & Tiny Sheds: 12 Miniature Structures You Can Build. Written by Philip Schmidt and Little Free Library and published by Cool Springs Press (£16.99/$24.99 - part of the Quarto stable who also published my Book Towns book last year), the Little Free Library movement (motto:‘Take a book, return a book’)is probably the most successful library project of the 21st century – there are now more than 80,000 in 91 countries around the world.

These handmade tiny libraries, often built to look rather like oversized bird boxes, are placed at strategic locations in neighbourhoods such as front gardens, yards and parks, but also in coffee shops and near restaurants. Anybody can remove a volume and deposit another for others to share. 

The book features full instructions detailing how to build a dozen designs ranging in size from the popular small box model to a full shed structure. Among them is the blueprint for the first Little Free Library, built by Todd Bol in 2009, who wrote the forward but sadly died shortly before this book was published. As well as information on installation and maintenance, there are also sections on how to publicise your little free library, what to stock, how to encourage community involvment, and a lovely collection of some of the most interesting around the world. It's really nicely put together, genuinely useful, and supports a great cause.