The Rapidian

Midtown Neighborhood Association to host workshop on "book house" building

Midtown will host a quintessential placemaking project based on the little free library model.
Burchard Street in East Grand Rapids

Burchard Street in East Grand Rapids /Eric Tank

Underwriting support from:

Workshop location

Midtown Neighborhood Association

1147 E. Fulton (parking lot of the Fulton Street Farmers Market)


Austin Herman's Little Free Library on Mack Street in Midtown

Austin Herman's Little Free Library on Mack Street in Midtown /Eric Tank

/Eric Tank

On Saturday, March 15, the Midtown Neighborhood Association will host a workshop on how to construct a miniature book house for your front yard. The workshop will take place at the Midtown Neighborhood Association office at 1147 E. Fulton, the red brick building at the south end of the Fulton Street Farmers Market. Attendees will learn basic construction techniques using a variety of materials. The workshop will be led by Austin Herman, who hopes to inspire people to build their own book houses.

"The value I think it adds to the neighborhood is it encourages people to talk to each other," says Herman. "It's kind of a ready-made conversation starter because even if you don't know what else to say you can talk about the books."

Herman, who enjoys sitting on his porch in the summer and watching the foot traffic to and from the farmers market, was inspired to build his Little Free Library when he came across an article about it in a bulletin. He thought it would be a good way to foster interaction with neighbors.

The project, initiated by the Midtown Neighborhood Association, was inspired by the trademarked Little Free Library. Little Free Library is a nonprofit whose mission is to encourage reading and foster community through the proliferation of free books housed in tiny "libraries" in people's front yards, in front of coffee shops and in public spaces.

The Association is currently accepting building materials such as hardware, lumber, decorative veneers and trims, plexiglass and books. Those wishing to donate can contact Midtown staff at 616-732-9191 for more information on delivery and dropoff.

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