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How to Build a Little Free Library

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.


Use recycled materials to make a neighborhood library where people can borrow, return and/or donate books. Visit to learn how to set up and run your Little Free Library.


  • An unfinished pine frame with an inside measurement of 8″ x 10″. This will become the door.
  • Pallets, or old discarded fencing or wood. This will make up the walls, roof and floor. The wood should be the same thickness, no less than 3⁄4″. Don’t use old wood that has been painted. (Old paint might contain lead and is a health hazard.) To take apart pallet wood, you will need work gloves, safety goggles, a flat pry bar, a claw hammer and a crowbar for stubborn nails.
  • 2″ x 2″ x 11″ board for the roof cleat
  • Pocketknife
  • Exterior wood glue
  • Pipe clamps, for gluing the recycled boards together
  • Two self-closing overlay hinges
  • Cabinet knob
  • A sheet of clear acrylic, large enough to be cut to fit into the groove in the back of the frame
  • Very fine-toothed saw (or utility knife if your acrylic is thin)
  • If your wood is 3⁄4″ thick, you will need 60 1 1⁄4″ exterior wood screws.
  • Drill and drill bits for predrilling lag bolts and screws
  • Crosscut saw and ripsaw
  • 1⁄4″ drill bit for vent holes
  • Sandpaper
  • Exterior paint



1. Collect more than enough boards to build the library, because some of the recycled wood will not be usable. Choose the cleanest wood from your pile. Remove any nails and cut off any unusable wood.

Cut the remaining boards to a rough length. The boards should not be too long when gluing and clamping them together. Sand all the edges and any rough spots.

Choose several boards close to the same length. Apply a thin layer of glue to all the edges and clamp them tightly together as shown. Allow each panel to dry overnight. Clamp and glue together enough panels to make all the parts of the library.


2. Use the drawings as a guide to cut to size the door frame, gable end supports and roof cleat.


3. Use the drawings as a guide to cut to size the roof, walls, floor and gable end sections. Glue and screw the walls, floor, door frame and gable end supports together.


4. Glue and screw the gable ends to the supports. Screw the roof cleat to the inside of the gable ends. Glue and screw the roof in place. Drill two 1⁄4″ holes at the top of each gable end for ventilation.


5. Cut and fasten the acrylic window inside the door. Hinge the door to the door frame, and screw on the cabinet knob.


6. Paint the library any colors you wish. Mount your library on a post (4″ x 4″ x 5′) buried 2′ in the ground. Fill it with books, and your library is complete.



  • 4″ x 4″ x 5′ fence post
  • Two 2″ x 4″ x 6″ boards
  • 2″ x 8″ x 14″ board
  • 8 1 1/2″ exterior wood screws
  • 8 3/8″ x 3″ galvanized lag bolts





Check out these photos of the completed project sent to us by Scout Life readers. If you have a photos of a SL Workshop project, please use the form below to send them to us.

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22 Comments on How to Build a Little Free Library

  1. Thy built one to put up in a senior living neighborhood. People talk about books they’ve read from it and cycle though books like crazy. It’s become a most loved pause point for all the bikers and walkers. Magazines and children’s books for visiting grandchildren were added and a coupon exchange file as well as Christmas Cookie recipe cards. Novels galore. Never been empty yet.

  2. Do you have to do anything to the door to keep rain/snow from getting in around the edges?

  3. The Library pictured has a dividing shelf – but the plans are for a “single”? Does anyone know where to access the plans for the model that is pictured for third project??
    Thanks for your help!

  4. Roof should not be made out of glued up pieces, even with exterior glue. Unless you then cover with some sort of roofing.

    Someone was asking about plywood sizes. Look at the drawings.

  5. What size plywood would I need to make one of these? Instead of using salvaged pallets?

    • Random Scout // January 12, 2019 at 12:34 pm // Reply

      Little late here, but I am using Cedar Wood for mine. Same sizes and length. I’m not sure about plywood though, so i recommend talking to some leaders in your area.

  6. This will be great for neighbors to get reading!

  7. I would think for safety you need a six foot post with 3 feet of post underground and cemented. Kids are tough and this might amount to a dangerous attractive nuisance if not safely constructed.

  8. The post supports it without being in poured concrete?

  9. FYI – I have found many of these free library doubling as a geocache!

    • I am a LFL steward. My experience is that only about half of LFL stewards who sink a post in the ground use concrete. Many mount their libraries on some sort of mobile structure like a bucket full of sand or a cart. My post is not set in concrete.

      • Anonymous // May 14, 2020 at 4:24 pm //

        The picture shows a LFL with a shelf – but the plans are for a “single”.
        Do you know where to access the plans for the one actually pictured?
        Thanks for your help!!

  10. omg this looks like sooooooo much fun! I am tots gonna do this YAY!!!!! lololololololol i am sooooo excited to build this BOX to put BOOKS IN! i saw one dat looked likea tardis m8 yippe

  11. Fantastic idea & project that will yield many positive results!!!

  12. I am doing this for my project this summer 🙂

  13. I am doing this Summer for my Eagle project! 🙂

  14. I created 6 LFL’s for my community this past summer as my Eagle Scout project. I customized each library to the location placed. I worked with my high school to router the 4×4 posts that they sit upon to read the Scout Law, with one 4×4 donated by my sisters Girl Scout troop as a peace pole which reads “May Peace Prevail on Earth in 4 languages. I held a book drive and received book donations from friends and family to fill and maintain the libraries for quite some time.

  15. TheWoofster // March 5, 2016 at 1:58 pm // Reply

    Wow! I might make some of these and place them throughout our community for an Eagle Project!

  16. BenjaminTieGuy // January 25, 2016 at 7:53 pm // Reply

    Our neighborhood really needs one of these.

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