Some random items can be repurposed into little free libraries

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Written By Jim J Neal

From wine barrels to filing cabinets, check out objects creative builders repurposed into Little Free Libraries.

Little Free Libraries have grown immensely popular in recent years. Hundreds of thousands of these take-a-book, leave-a-book boxes can be found in U.S. front yards alone, according to the official Little Free Library web site, a non-profit launched in 2009.

It’s easy to see why. These libraries promote literacy in the neighborhood, inspire young readers and connect communities. Did you know you can put items other than books inside a Little Free Library?

Thousands of homeowners across the country have built and designed these libraries, while others turned an already existing structure into one. We found some creative ideas for objects to repurpose into Little Free Libraries.

On This Page

Barrel

Whether originally designed to hold rain, beer or wine, the hollow interior of a wooden barrel works well as a Little Free Library. Add a glass door on hinges or a lid so you can grab the books from the inside. Just make sure you’re keeping the books safe from rain.

Phone Booth

OK, so most people DON’T have a phone booth lying around. But if you happen across one at an antique store or a garage sale, know they’ll make a pretty cool Little Free Library. This Pinterest user added shelves to the back of a phone booth for ample storage.

Pay Phone Without Booth

This creative Pinterest user repurposed an old pay phone into a library, with a twist — free art supplies attached to the side.

Newspaper Box

Here’s another popular trend — repurposing an old newspaper box, like this Pinterest user did. They can be left as is or decorated to look like something else, like a robot!

Microwave

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Rather than letting your old microwave spend decades in a local landfill, give it a second purpose. This microwave conversion doesn’t hold as many books as other libraries on this list, but it does promote recycling. You can also use a bread warmer.

Washer and Dryer

You can also use a big appliance, like a washer/dryer. Or how about an oven?

Wooden Cabinet

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This Instagram user turned a cabinet into a library in their front yard. If you do repurpose furniture, weatherproof it first before putting it out in the elements. Kitchen cabinets are also popular options for library conversions.

Grandfather Clock

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This Instagram user turned an old wooden grandfather clock into a stunning Little Free Library. The books can be accessed at the bottom with the clock face visible at the top.

Filing Cabinet

The internet and digitization of documents are making filing cabinets like these obsolete. This Pinterest user repurposed one into a multi-level library.

Light Fixture

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A light fixture to library conversion has to be one of the most unusual choices on this list. Just be careful with all that glass!

Boat

Creative homeowners converted everything from full sized boats like this one here to small model canoes into Little Free Libraries. Add a glass panel door to protect the books from rain.

Alex ShoemakerAlex Shoemaker

Alex Shoemaker
Alex is an avid DIYer but had little experience before purchasing his first home in 2019. A Family Handyman subscription was one of his first purchases after becoming a homeowner, and he’s been hooked ever since. When he’s not working, he can be found fixing up his 1940s Florida home or relaxing on the beach with his family.

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