Spacefem (spacefem) wrote,

building libraries

I keep making little free libraries and they keep getting better. I can't wait until one is up for real and I can put up photos. I've learned more about how more types of hinges work, how to puzzle together a door frame, sizes of clear acrylic, the best place in town for 1/4" plywood (menards) and the best place in town for primer (habitat restore).

I had some people on our facebook page offer help and I posted about some steps volunteers could do, but coordinating is a project in and of itself.

Several cities have had big coordinated projects to deploy little free libraries en masse around the city - that's not what we've got going on. Six libraries have passed through my garage this year now. Three were built by a volunteer day at the makerspace, all three are the same except the paint jobs, they're too big so a lot of houses don't want them to be honest - but I'm slowly at least getting them claimed, someone's supposed to come out and get one for a school this week. Then there's the three I've made. One is just sitting and waiting, it just got put together. The other two are at people's houses getting paint and waiting for concrete to set in the holes, so, REALLY close to being out, we just dug the holes this week.

Back to big projects - they all have one thing in common: the libraries are stamped out of a very well-defined pattern and they're all the same. When it comes to getting 40 volunteers to do something, there's not much time to art, right? People can paint creatively sometimes, but the shape and wood just has to get nailed together, and that's where I get lost because my favorite part of libraries is thinking up new shapes.

I've made house-shaped ones with scalloped roofs. I made a round one that looks like a hobbit hole. There's one with a pointy curved top like a fairy tale house.

I use the laser cutter at the makerspace to make the door first, I cut out the acrylic window and three frame-shaped pieces to sandwich a door frame together. Then I laser cut the back. Then I use the back as a pattern to cut 2x4s like a frame so I have something to screw into. It all starts with a vector design in inkscape though. That's what I like sitting and doing - just making lines.

If we had some big project, where would my designs go? I'd lose my favorite part.

Habitat for Humanity gives 20 high schoolers 6 hours of community service just by telling them here, brush paint this house, here's the paint brushes and the paint. They don't have to think much. It's great! I've done it, I really do think it's great. But you can't make art like that right?

Today we went out to someone's house, she'd painted the library I gave her and that's nice for me, I'm finding that most people are willing to paint their own. My inspiration ends when the wood is screwed together. We set the post and got the door hinges in and window caulked, we got to work in the shade, marc said it was really nice. It was. No masses of volunteers. No matching t-shirts or photo ops. Are we doing the absolute BEST thing for a community in need? Probably not. What a random project. Maybe I am selfish, concerned more about feeding my creative spirit. But that's worth something too, right? There are worse things I could be spending time on.
Tags: crafts

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