From One Spine to Another- Jordan Reed

Hey everyone, this is Jordan reporting from what was formerly team Vertabend. We have decided to disband and not continue with our project. Three of us (Karrie, Zane and I) have decided to move on to a new project, while our other member, Zabdi, is now with a new group. The three of us remaining members had a few weeks of fruitless brainstorming before we were given a suggestion by our instructor Ms. Miesner that all of us are super excited to work with. We are going to construct some little free libraries! In case you haven’t heard of this new trend, it’s basically a mailbox-like structure that functions as a community library- minus the library cards and due dates. We are planning on building one for our campus/local community and two to present and auction off at the maker faire. The funds from the ones auctioned off are going to our school’s library (the little one, but mainly the big one) to get new books. We also might make an instructable to give to our makers class (a group of students who learn how to make anything from books to hats) or have a workshop or two where we teach students how to make a library that they could put into their neighborhoods.

All three of us are really into books and we agree that this is a really cool idea to increase literacy and community involvement/interaction. Little free libraries can be found all over the world, and if you’re interested you should check out the Little Free Library website. There’s a map of all of the registered LFL’s. Right now we are in the process of researching designs and what requirements we have to meet to register our library. Soon we’ll start figuring out what design we’ll want to do for ours, though I confess I’ve already started getting and sketching some ideas.


The best part is going to be picking the decorations we want to have on the outside. All three of us are art students, so I think we’ll turn out some great stuff to sell at the maker faire. This is radically different from what we were working on previously (minus the horrible pun that is this post’s title), and while I was happy with our previous project, I’m really super excited for this and glad Ms. Miesner suggested it! I know that I’m going to want to make myself a Little Free Library when this project is over.

4 thoughts on “From One Spine to Another- Jordan Reed

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  1. I’ve heard of the little free libraries before and I thought it was a very cool and amusing concept. I’ve never actually seen one within my neighborhood so I’ve always contemplated on making one myself. I am excited to know that you are making one for the school, school is inevitably a second home for me so I am anticipating the little free library. Thinking about the members within the team really makes me excited on what the product will become. I understand the feeling about not feeling very interested in the previous project due to complication- personal experience really sympathize with you – I myself am on the same boat. I hope for the best for you guys and I look forward to seeing your project in the maker fair.

    -Jessica P. Salazar

  2. This is a wonderful idea. I have not heard that these little community libraries existed around the Austin area. I was just wondering if you were expanding the location of where you would place these community libraries. I believe that parks and malls are good places where people can just pick out a book, and return it when they’re done. It will be nice for people to spend every morning sitting at a park bench and reading a book from the little library. Most people no longer want to pay for books, thus it’s a great way to encourage people to read.

    After a bit of research to understand more about the impacts of these little libraries, I was surprised to find an article that stated these little libraries could not be in community zones. A community in Shreveport, Louisiana was ordered to get rid of their little libraries because they challenged the local library and they were not in commercial zones. However, a lot of people are willing to appeal this case to the Zoning Board of appeals since there are no money transactions– only the sharing of books. This was quite an interesting case, and I hope there isn’t anything like this in Austin. In my opinion, the government seems to be crossing the line of its given powers. I am slightly concerned since Austin is known for heavy city regulations, but I’m sure people would realize the services these libraries are doing to a community. I am also worried about their impact on local libraries, if the entire nation adopts this idea. However public libraries are also needed for people who need computers, meetings, and to just have a quiet place.

    I can’t wait to see your design, and I wish you all the best.

    Link to articles:

    -Zabdi Salazar

  3. This is an absolutely fantastic idea. I love the idea of having a little free library outside our school. It’s a great way to connect with the community surrounding our school. The one place I could see this getting tricky is that no how hard you try, people aren’t going to be entirely honest and the “take a book, leave a book” policy may not always be enough to keep the little library in good stock. Have you brainstormed ideas to replenish the books if they run out? Or how to maintain funding for loss of books? It also may be good to consider inviting people who live in the community to help stock it to begin with. Good luck with your project, I can’t wait to see and use it!

    -Jessica Hess

  4. I think this is project is perfect for your group. I have never heard of the Little Libraries until now. The closest thing I have seen was in Mexico which was a large case with a plastic cover and inside there were lots of books. It was located in the town square, but from what I could tell there wasn’t really a way to get the books out (then again I was standing from afar). What I liked about the plastic was that even under harsh weather conditions it would still protect the books inside, but since I noticed that a lot of the Little Libraries are made of wood has your team considered having a plastic or protective cover in the inside? Also a suction tight door to prevent rain from getting in. I know that you must have already thought about the possibility of book snatchers, hooligans who do not actually intend to read the books or do not follow the “take a book, leave a book” policy, you could consider making it like a “Book Vending Machine” except you don’t know what book you will get. There are lots of pros and cons to this, but maybe it will inspire other ideas. One concern with that idea (I know I’m finding the holes in my own idea) is that people who don’t have access to books don’t have anything to give and aren’t they the ones we want reading? Also books come in all different sizes so it would be generally difficult to have an universal book slot. But like I said maybe it will spark better ideas among your book. Have you considered making it a whiteboard little libraries, taking whiteboard paint and painting it with that. It’s going to get vandalized so it might as well be erasable? Might I also suggest that one of the books you put in there be “I want my hat back”. I can’t wait to see your group’s final product, best of luck (not that you need it).

    -Libertad Paloma

    (It took me forever to get the pun, but that’s because I’m oblivious)

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