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Designing a Better Little Free Library

The care that goes into each Little Free Library makes each example special and unique. A little architectural expertise can't hurt either.
February 15, 2017, 2pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Matthew Corley

Anne Quito writes of a recent design competition to promote and improve the Little Free Library—a common sight around the world, with "50,000 vessels of literary generosity" in 70 countries. Little Free libraries are made by hand and tended by community members, but they do have the institutional assistance of the Wisconsin-based non-profit Little Free Library to promote and encourage the idea.

The idea for a design competition is a new wrinkle, however. Quito explains.

After thousands of crafty examples, Little Free Library noted that some models could be improved with advice from professional architects and builders. The ideal box library should be weather-proof, fit at least 25 books, and delight neighbors, including young children. The group teamed up with the American Institute of Architects-San Francisco and Chronicle Books to launch a contest to crowdsource solutions that negotiate usability and aesthetic concerns.

The design competition received over 300 entries. Quito shares renderings and descriptions of the winning prototypes.

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Published on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 in Quartz
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