Freestanding "street library"

The Little Free Library is a project from Stereotank: a freestanding, inverted plastic tank that you stick your head into in order to browse the books that are sheltered from the elements. It's been installed in New York's Nolita.

The Architectural League of New York partnered with Pen World Voices Festival to bring Little Free Library to New York City. Ten designers were chosen to create one Little Free Library each in Downtown Manhattan. Stereotank was selected to design a Little Free Library at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral School in Nolita. The design consisted in creating an 'inhabitable' Little Free Library, where users could immerse themselves and take the time to browse through books and borrow or exchange them. The structure is built out of an upside down plastic tank and a wooden frame. Perforations around the tank allow visitors to peek inside and preview the interior, which invites them to duck under and discover the book collection while still having a connection with the exterior. The installation is planned to be active until September 2013.

Little Free Library


  1. There is a similar library operating in Kulpmont, PA. Books are free, no checking in or out, all donated, over 700 at last count. Take one, leave one, whatever.

    1. I understand Cory’s slip. I wish they were still making music too. Stereotank’s not bad though.

  2. That is so cool.
    One of our neighbors put up a glass-door, gabled little library.  With a water bowl for dogs underneath.. :)
    They seem to be getting a really nice rotation and it’s always full.

  3. This is the coolest design for a Little Free Library that I’ve seen so far. There’s a nice little wooden one a few blocks from my house (and several more in my city). As a librarian at the local Big Free Library, this project tickles me to no end.

  4. This is a very nice one, though they didn’t invent the Little Free Library:
    We’ve had ours up for a little over a year.

  5. That design is handsome and ingenious, but I would feel uncomfortably vulnerable with my head up in that opaque bubble and my body exposed to passers-by. Maybe I;m just paranoid?

        1. As far as I can tell, people who enjoy looking at pictures of bodies with the heads cut off are just called “people”. “Hello! My eyes are up here!”

  6. We just re-opened our LFL that we stock with comics and graphic novels (as well as other books) and is designed after the Hall of Justice.

  7. If they plug the holes, the design also works underwater.

    Now somebody get busy and make us a Little Free Diving Bell library!

    1. I was just thinking it had so many advantages over other designs, but indeed, I did not think of bees.  Or wasps, or spiders (oh $deity spiders).

  8. Nice looking, reminds me of a submarine. But… it’s not very accessible friendly. And clumsy me would probably bang my head. But it really looks nice, I wonder if it could be improved somehow to be a bit more accommodating.

  9. I can only imagine how skin meltingly hot it is going to be inside that thing in August. 

  10. I’ve just kind of given up on the whole “a place to leave books for giving away, while admirable, is not a library” thing, and am now just amused at how overdesigned and clumsy this thing is. 

  11. I think it could get a few people to think about grabbing a book that otherwise wouldn’t, because it would double as a rain shelter.  Someone might duck under it to escape a momentary downpour and get interested.

  12. The Mulberry branch library is two blocks away. Why not put this thing in an area where there isn’t a library so close by?

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