How’s your Street Library looking? Do you want to show it some love? Or, hands up if you’re sick of the endless rain and the damage it’s doing to properties, communities and Street Libraries around the country? Hello there!
Books remain our friends throughout time and all kinds of disasters. We’ve collated tips from members of the Street Library community and we’re sharing some insider knowledge to help bolster your local Street Libraries and keep book collections safe, dry and mould-free.
One of our recent favourite methods for ‘waterproofing’ a Street Library – particularly good in a pinch – is the old heavy-duty-garbage-bag-over-the-street-library trick. “Once it starts raining I run outside and it takes me just 10 seconds to put it on,” says Street Librarian Bec of the Beaumont Court Street Library in Queensland. “Make sure you secure it so it doesn’t blow away, I use a standard kitchen packet clip.”
Of course if you’re looking at a longer term preventative measure, going right back to basics is recommended. What materials did you use to construct your library? All Street Libraries available through our website are created using high-quality marine grade plywood with waterproof glue and nickel-plated steel fixings for extra durability and longer life.
Even so, we recommend applying a triple coat of paint to further protect your Street Library from the elements. Think of your library as you would a deck; the timber requires painting or staining to protect it properly. A primer is a good option to begin with as it will bond well with the timber and will help the paint or stain to adhere better. Finish the process with another layer of paint or sealant and remember that exterior house paints are relatively inexpensive and extremely fit-for-purpose. This process should be repeated every year or two to maintain your library’s condition and climate resilience.
Simple modifications can also give your Street Library an edge when it comes to surviving regular downpours. A metal roof overhang can assist with preventing water from seeping in through the crack at the top of your library door. Magnetic latches are a good option for ensuring your library’s door remains closed against the elements, and if you do find your library has sprung a leak, silicone caulk will fill those gaps and prevent water from causing damage to books.
Moisture absorption sachets can be helpful in keeping your library dry. Collect these from packets containing ‘wraps’, nori, vitamins or even shoe boxes and place them inside the library to absorb moisture. Replace regularly.
And remember that not all Street Libraries need to be made from timber. Although it is a lovely-looking and sustainable resource when well cared for, there are a multitude of options. Some Street Librarians throughout our community have created their Street Libraries from abandoned fridges and decommissioned microwaves – both of which provide solid weather protection.
Let us know via the comments below what successful measures you have taken to weatherproof your Street Library. We would love to share your wins with the Street Library community.
*Thank you to the Street Library community and our friends at Little Free Library for their generous tips.*