Before we plunge deep into 2015, I want to share with you another five things that I’ve learned from my Little Free Library. (If you missed the first five, you can read about them HERE.)
1. Weatherproof, weatherproof, weatherproof. My library is made of recycled cedar, built nice and tight. The roof angles back to allow water to run off, and it overhangs the library’s walls to further protect them. Before I put up the library, I sprayed it with multiple coats of polyurethane varnish.
Everything stayed nice and dry until a storm brought rain sideways, directly at one of the library’s walls. The polyurethane spray wasn’t enough. Water soaked through the cedar, and the paperbacks touching the wall got wet. Solution: I stained the library, inside and out, with two coats of a good exterior stain/sealer. It worked. In another driving rain, the library stayed nice and dry.
2. Kids can be messy. Summertime means more kids visiting the library. I love kids, and I’m happy to see them eager to read. But kids are kids, and kids don’t always put things back where they found them. Often, I find books piled inside the library in front of the shelves. A messy library discourages adults, so I do a lot of straightening when kids are around. I think part of the problem is that the library is too tall for little arms to reach comfortably. I’m thinking about adding another library, smaller, shorter, and just for kids. We’ll see.
3. Readers like to share. Sometimes, my library is bulging with books. When readers decide to purge their bookshelves, my Little Free Library seems the perfect place to recycle. Too many books can be a problem. I’ve learned that an overstocked library deters readers from browsing. So . . . I store the overload and use those books to refresh the library every 4-6 weeks.
4. Cover it up. There is one day out of 365 when I close and cover up my Little Free Library—Halloween trick-or-treat day. I throw an industrial-sized, black trash bag over the library and secure it to the post with zip ties. This prevents trick-or-treaters from thinking that the books are the treats, and it also deters vandalism. I’d rather be safe than sorry.
5. Treats are popular. If you read my post, “My Little Free Library has Gone to the Dogs,” you already know that doggie treats bring readers to the library. My patrons are really good about taking just one or sometimes two treats. I’ve had no problems with anyone emptying out the dog treats jar. But, when I put mini candy bars in the library for a treat at Christmas time, they disappeared within a day or two. I suspect that kids found them and filled their pockets. So, I doubt that I’ll do that again.
Check out this kid-friendly video about how a Little Free Library works.
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