Last Page–Little Free Library (Karrie N, Jordan R, Zane T)

We can’t believe it’s over! Make-O-Rama has come and gone, and we have finished constructing the ARS Little Free Library. We’ve made this blog post easy for you to navigate with headers of the topics we’re reflecting on.

Final Product


At the Make-o-Rama we showed our completed Little Free Library (minus the post that is required to stick it in the ground. Many groups of students came by our booth and asked about our Little Free Library, mainly high schoolers, but also some middle schoolers and even a few teachers. Everyone really loved it, and people were very curious about how long it took us to construct the LFL, as well as how we did it. When we told them it had taken the greater part of the semester, they were very impressed and realized how much work it took to get to the final product.

We figured we’d be able to make at least a couple of them, maybe even three or four, but as it turned out, we could barely make one Little Free Library. We also wanted to auction off the LFL, but we weren’t sure how to coordinate that, so we ended up deciding to donate it to the school.

Iso View sort of) 

What We Would Have Done Differently

Jordan: Looking back on what we were able to do, I would’ve taken less time designing the thing and tried to order the materials sooner. If we had done that then we wouldn’t have lost so much time waiting for things to come in. Oh, and get the paint ourselves to avoid the communication errors we had with Ms. Jo, our chief Home Depot delivery woman.

Karrie: If we could start again, I would have spent more time planning the actual construction of the library and getting a list of ALL the required materials so we wouldn’t have spent valuable days waiting for new orders of materials to come in; there was no avoiding that this time around, since we couldn’t have predicted all the things we would need to complete the project, but for the future, it will save a lot of time to have a solid “plan of construction” and list of materials. I think our group could have even tried harder to assign certain tasks to certain days (to have a more concrete construction schedule), but then again that still can’t cover mishaps that occur and unpredictable things that come up. And in the end, we finished on time, so it’s all good.

Zane: Why would I start this over again? I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t turn out much better. Granted we’d have more of an idea of what to do, but we’d have to order everything super early for it to turn out well.

Also, we wouldn’t need to do it again, this thing is fabulous.

Caulking the LFL

Connections to Capstone

Jordan: My role in my Capstone project pretty much involved the designing and building of a product, aka, exactly what we did for this project. In that aspect this was helpful, because I was able to use the knowledge of tools etc that I got from this project to make Capstone easier, but at the same time making two wood products at the same time was really difficult and I basically lived in the Makerspace for a couple weeks. The other two didn’t really get any Capstone help from this.

Skills We Developed

Zane: Power tools. I can use them somewhat effectively, though my ability with a drill is questionable.

Karrie: Yes, my skills and confidence with power tools are much improved from the beginning of the semester, and I would love to continue working with them in college, probably for designing and creating theatre sets and props, since I’ll be participating in theatre. I also learned that projects like this take A LOT OF TIME. If you predict the time you think it will take you to complete the project (before you even start), it’s a good rule of thumb to multiply that by two or three just to be more realistic (and safe if there’s a deadline). We’d planned to construct two or three LFLs, but had enough time to finish one–so we really under calculated how much time it would take.

Jordan: Well, I definitely have a renewed respect for people who make these for themselves/their communities because there are NO good instructables for them (except ours of course, but we didn’t have that). Also, my maker skills have been refreshed and improved through this project, which will certainly help me in my future life (knowing how to use power tools will be the first step in my quest to be able to fix things myself).


Zane: Start early. Prep quickly, and know the basics of construction. Don’t set high standards or goals.

Karrie: As I said before: Multiply however long you think the project will take to complete by two or three so you actually have enough time. Time flies, and construction (if you’re going very carefully…like you should) takes more time than you think. One more thing: you WILL need teacher and adult assistance; our LFL simply requires too many potentially dangerous blades and angles. So know when to step back and let the experts take the reins.

Jordan: Don’t try to find instructions–there aren’t any. Just go with it. Also, Oren is your new best friend.


Clamping the sharp roof (did Zane mentioned the metal cut her?)
Clamping the sharp roof (did Zane mentioned the metal cut her?)

Fun and Frustration

Zane: Frustration was figuring out what we should do, what we could do with our  resources and time, and then attempting to accomplish  whatever we decided on. Fun? It blurs together. But watching the laser cutter burn stuff was decent. Though there was the terrible smell that chased me away.

Jordan: The most challenging part was probably trying to figure out how to fix the problems/accidents that happened to/with the library (like how to do the back piece or when the bottom didn’t match up). The most fun part… well actually, I loved the whole process! This was a really fun project that I actually care about (woo books!), and I had a wonderful team to work with.

Karrie: The most challenging part was how frustrating it was to not know HOW to actually construct parts of the library, like the window, door, roof, and drilling the wood together; we were VERY dependent on Ms. Jo to make this LFL. If she wasn’t at school, we’d often have to put off progressing on the construction because we weren’t sure how to attach the roof, for example, or how to cut the metal for the roof or the acrylic for the window, simply because we’d never learned how to use the table saw or the laser cutter. But other than that, this project was FUN! That is, if you like using power tools and making things.

Making the door frame with the acrylic window

What next?

We are going to attach it to a wooden post and donate it to ARS for the school and the surrounding community. We still need to inform them that we are doing so. Also, we have the instructable to share with the maker classes and PLTW classes, and maybe even the world.

Zane: Donate it and never touch it again. I don’t trust it, its already cut me twice.

Grading Ourselves

Zane: We finished building it, and there was a bunch of random adjustments and help from creepy strangers and strange creepers, and I guess it turned out alright since it’s over. So, I’d guess that anywhere from an ninety to a ninety six would work taking into account the product, blood, building, effort and improvisation involved. And terror. Epoxy is terrifyingly stressful.

Karrie: I would give our team a 90 to a 95, because although we barely met the deadline, we did finish the construction of the LFL on time and the building is high quality; you can see how much we cared about this project. We did everything we could to make is as weatherproof as possible–a waterproof roofing, a threshold for the door, and the outside paint that it’s decorated with. All holes were filled in and the edges of the inside and outside were caulked to prevent leaks. I believe it’s very well-made and we deserve an A for our hard work, but maybe not a 100 since we COULD have spent more time planning out construction and materials we’d need; which would have led to a roof with an overhang that would have protected the LFL from water even more; that’s my only disappointment with our final product. Even our original design had the roof extending over the front and back side; but due to material shortages and measuring complications that arose, it wasn’t executed into reality.

Jordan: I’d give us a 95 because we worked really hard, put a lot of time into this, learned a lot, and made a legitimate actual real world product that people can really use (I still can’t believe that, it’s super cool).

The back


18 thoughts on “Last Page–Little Free Library (Karrie N, Jordan R, Zane T)

Add yours

  1. First, I love the concept of Little Free Libraries. I saw one in my neighborhood and immediately went to their website ( I’ve thought about making one for a long time and I’m happy to see someone else succeed where I…have not. I like the way that you all voiced your opinions, it speaks to a supportive group dynamic which really makes everything easier no matter what your goal is. Your LFL is very visually appealing, I particularly like the slanted roof and unpainted metal on the top. I think it is very cool that you used powertools so much to make your LFL, I wish that my product had featured physical construction (and now I would know how to plan my time accordingly thanks to your advice!)
    — Anjali

  2. Fist of all, y’alls LFL is the BOMB.COM guys. It looks so great compared to the prototypes and various other things I saw as it was being made. I am glad that you decided to donate to the school, hopefully they will get as much out of it as the effort you all out in. In the future maybe y’all would consider uploading an instrucable to or other place because as Jordan mentioned there aren’t any out there currently. Overall good work ^.^
    -Angelic Almaraz

  3. I really like how you connected this to capstone because this very much was like capstone. It’s good that you took some valuable lessons from this whole ordeal and I love the way your library looks , it’s encouraging the youth of today to read and reading is such a beautiful thing.

  4. Amelia Fisher
    I love how you all have such good humor regarding this project! Coming from the unattached yoga mat storage unit group, I can very much appreciate how your lack of available time made your project impossible to complete. My next door neighbors also created their own library (called the Little Walnut library because we live in Walnut creek) which I’ll comment a picture of in a following comment. I like how on hers she added little walnut characters to her library to add some character, so that might be an idea for y’all to use in the future except maybe be little character stars.

  5. Great job guys! I’m so glad that you built such a kind and generous product for the community, this is something that I have never heard of and I’m so impressed by the level of kindness it promotes. Where do you plan to place this again? How durable is the material for the outside such as rain? My group had the same problem where we waited too long to order materials and in the end we were scrambling! But overall this is a really cool project and I think we need more little free libraries in our community to promote education and a helping hand!

  6. Hi Karrie, Zane, and Jordan,

    I’m a big fan of your project! Though it looks simple, I’ve learned from reading your blog posts and watching you work that it takes a LOT of time, skill, and materials to make something look that simple and elegant! (I also like your paint job, by the way.) I was wondering about Zane’s comment, “Don’t set high standards or goals”… I don’t know about your project specifically, but it seems like taking more (and more, and probably even more) time to make sure all your measurements are as perfect and accurate as they can be, is worthwhile. Usually in construction, that means that later materials and components which need to build on top of the first ones are in better position and more accurately aligned. Did you have any problems related to that? Finally, if you wanted tips on drilling, you might find this helpful. (

    Annalise Irby

  7. First off, the title of this post is so creative that I couldn’t help but click on it! I think it’s really considerate of you all to donate your Little Free Library to the school- Ms. Mauser must be over the moon. In my opinion, your LFL was the most useful project out of all the senior bioengineering projects, and you all should be proud of your end product. My group had originally planned to implement a fully automated system into the Airstream trailer, but ran into quite a few obstacles that prevented us from completing our entire project. Your group, however, was able to accomplish your end goal of having a finished, fully-functioning LFL! I looked up images of other Little Free Libraries, and I have to say your LFL is much more creative and aesthetically pleasing than a lot of the libraries pictured on this page

    During class this semester I always noticed you all working diligently on your project, and when you presented to the class you spoke very confidently and I could tell you really put a lot of care and time into your project. Like Amelia mentioned in her comment, you all kept very good spirits about your project and I commend you for not letting yourselves get too stressed out about your project. I especially liked Jordan’s advice that you shouldn’t look for instructions- “just go with it.” Her advice seemed to work, because your LFL is simply amazing! Great job 

    Erin Simons

  8. I agree with Erin. Your project came out really well and from the perspective of an outsider, it’s very pleasing to the eye. I’ve heard of little free libraries before, but I’ve only seen them made out of old telephone booths and thing that were already in the community. It was a new experience for me to see one built from scratch.

    I admire the way that your blog post was structure because this way, it was easy to see how each of you felt about your project and made it fun for the reader to see your different perspectives on the topic.

    I love the fact that you guys keep an upbeat attitude no matter what’s thrown your way. In class, I’ve noticed that you all have smiles on your face and are joking with each other, so much so, that I wouldn’t have ever been able to tell that you were experiencing delays and/or troubles. It was refreshing to see.

    In the spirit of what I just said (and just because it’s fun to see how creative/serious people are about their lil’ libraries) check out this link:

    Overall, as a team, you all were able to come up with something creative and interesting and maybe one day, you’ll make another LFL together.

    -R. Howard

  9. Hi, just wanted to let you know that your little free library is super cute and if it was pink, I would buy it from all of you. I really think that the idea of putting a book in and exchanging it for another is a good idea because if you are in High School and you need a study book then going to a little library that has that book and giving the study book you used from last year, would not just benefit you but someone else. I think that you all do deserve a 95 because it truly seems like ya’ll worked diligently to make the little free library that could benefit the community. Good job ya’ll. Now I know it is a better idea to order earlier so that things can actually get done. I hope ya’ll make more little libraries.

    -Dennis Vera

  10. Hey Guys! Honestly I didn’t know much of your project when I saw you in the MakeORama I was pretty surprised with what you had come up. You did a great job to be honest. Loved the idea it was well put together and I think this could be something ya’ll could potentially use to sell as a product or even possible to make for our own school. Congrats in finishing your project.
    -Yuvia Ruiz

  11. This was the cutest thing ever at the Make-O-Rama! It’s an interesting concept how you guys thought about making something that benefits the community in an educational way. Usually, when we think of benefits to the community, we forget that there’s a whole world of books! I was able to see the LFL in person, and it was very well thought out. I think if this project was to go any further, different shapes, sizes, and colors could be used to create more LFL. It’s a really cute project. This reminds me of the homeless man who reads tons of books, and he gives people detailed summaries in return for a dollar! I don’t know why I associated the stories together, but it all seems really cute to me! Good job you guys! -Erika C.

  12. I really love this product! I love the idea of little free libraries because I have seen them all around Austin! Your final product turned out great and I love the design you chose that would fit the unexpected weather here in Texas. I hope that your library is a success and will inspire people all around!- Annalise M

  13. i enjoy the creativity, enthusiasm and effort put into this LFL. Definately has a lot of good information that could come in handy later on into my own group projects/ design ideas, on how to create great progress with good timing and problem solving skills whenever needed. I really the teamwork and team support everyone had, which really helps create a great product with good results and grade 🙂

  14. I enjoy using the LFL now and am glad I got to see the process behind it. You guys did a great job at explaining what you would do differently and telling us how to project affected you personally. I hope to remember some of the wisdom y’all have passed on while working on my own project.

  15. First I want to say that I really like your invention. I saw it this morning as I passed by the library and I thought that the product itself was well made and a great way to get books when on the go and don’t really have time to stop by at the library. While reading your blog post, I’m glad that you guys had fun and showed great humor but at the same time you guys were honest in areas that you could improve on. I also learned that the LFL was made to be weather proof which I thought was really neat how you guys actually spent time thinking about making the LFL usable for indoors or even outdoors! Overall, I enjoyed reading your blog post as I got more background information after I had seen your great LFL invention.
    -Brenda Vazquez

  16. I have to start off by saying that you LFL is a really great idea! I have seen these before in neighborhoods and I thought it would be a really good idea to have one in our school and y’all have made that happen 🙂 . I love how y’all worked together and split up the roles because that is always a good trait to have when working in a group on a project. Great job you guys!

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