There are dozens of Little Free Libraries across Wellesley, but no other like the one that went up this summer at the Weston Road Community Gardens.
This unique mini-library is the product of collaboration between Wellesley High School’s Architecture Club, Woodworking Club, and Lisa Moore from the town’s Natural Resources Commission.
Architecture Club co-founder Ivy Lei and Robin Lee, both rising seniors at Wellesley High, gave me a tour of the library and shared its back story with me earlier this week at the gardens. They’re a powerful duo for the club, with Lei stronger on the engineering side, and Lee the more artistic one of pair.
They were looking for a club project last year that all members could work on, and Lei was inspired to propose a Little Free Library after noticing others in town. ”
“We wanted something that was really hands-on for everyone,” said Lee, who has had a busy summer interning at a lab.
The project began late last year, and as the initial drawings, measurements, and drafting was completed, they joined forces with the Wellesley High Woodworking Club to make the plans reality. The look of the library is partially inspired by The Hobbit.
Lei and Lee credit WHS engineering and robotics teacher Larry Lovett for helping with some of the more challenging aspects of putting the library together, including decisions around choosing a post (from an Oak tree) that could support the library’s weight, and shaping the wood and door to ensure rain wouldn’t drench the books inside.
Faculty advisor Lovett says the Woodworking Club decided to use Poplar as the main wood for the library. “It is strong and easy to work with. We have a lot of poplar in the shop,” he says. The sides and door are plywood, some bordering plexiglass. Using all treated wood might have meant longer life for the library, but Lovett said natural wood was chosen fit in with the gardens.
The WHS seniors, who also play violin together in and out of school, credit the NRC’s Moore for helping them make ecologically-friendly decisions about the design, including the sticks that adorn the library’s roof. Earlier concepts included using artificial turf on top, or maybe bamboo. “We were able to recycle from nature,” said Lei, who enjoyed visiting national parks over the summer.
Inside the library there is a mix of books, and not surprisingly, a handful of the titles relate to plants and nature. It’s a natural fit at this location.
New mini-library a natural fit at #Wellesley community garden https://t.co/FYqT8P2PT6 @WellesleyPS pic.twitter.com/GVfxZsxaK3
— swellesley (@swellesley) September 2, 2022
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