The Little Free Library Design Competition

You’re probably seen them: popping up in an unexplored neighborhood, embedded in a tree, peeking over a fence. They’re Little Free Libraries, and while they may be small, they have a big impact.

Last year we designed and gave away two libraries to two excited book lovers, and this year we want you to get in on the fun.

We’re partnering with Little Free Library—the nonprofit that organizes over 40,000 LFLs (as those in the know call them) currently registered around the world—and the American Institute of Architects, San Francisco Chapter (AIASF) to invite designers, architects, doodlers, and book folks of all stripes to rethink this unique structure, and solve some of the challenges identified by the neighborhood heroes that care for them.

Little Free Library Design Competition

What kind of problems you ask? Things like weatherproofing, having the design of the library suit the community in which it lives, book visibility, space for odd-shaped books, serving small children and tall adults alike, and more.

You could win one of 3 awards:

  • Stewards Choice: chosen by the Little Free Library community
  • Chronicle Books Choice: chosen by the Chronicle Books team and considered for large-scale production if certain guidelines are met
  • Judges Choice: chosen by our team of esteemed judges

Judges include Todd H. Bol of Little Free Library, Kevin Lippert of Princeton Architectural Press, Dan Cohen of Gramming for Good, Brett Randall Jones of David Baker Architects, Christina Jenkins of Project H, and the team at Snøhetta, the award-winning design firm that just completed the SFMOMA expansion project. These folks know their stuff.

Visit the site to enter and email with any questions—the deadline is Friday, November 11. Good luck!

Kathryn Jaller

Kathryn Jaller

Previous Associate Director of online strategy at Chronicle Books and art/craft/cat lady. You can follow her at @kholler.
Kathryn Jaller

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  • Kellie DuBay Gillis October 6, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    As a Little Free Library steward and a school board member, I’m so excited about this competition and hope some of our local high school students will compete! What an amazing opportunity. Excited to see the submissions! Thanks to Chronicle, Little Free Library, and AIASF!


  • Elaine Coombs October 11, 2016 at 9:58 am

    I LOVE coming across these LFL’s! There is one in the neighborhood (dogpatch, SF) where I have my studio, and it’s always fun to see what is there… I have come across several others too and they always make my heart sing. Thank you to Chronicle for creating more of these, and the stewards that take care of them. I always love to drop my extra books in there for others to enjoy!


  • Cindy R. October 23, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Just spotted one of these in my town. Looking forward to checking it out!


  • wladyslaw narowski October 24, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    I want to enter the contest. I want to send you my entry. Where do I send my book house to you before November 11


  • Marshall Tucker January 14, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    I’m wondering when the winners will be announced. Any ideas?


  • Jessica braverman January 19, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    I entered this and did not get a confirmation that my entry was received. Have there been any updates or winners decided upon? I’m a little confused about what is going on given the finalists were to be announced in December.


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