This whole library tree idea has been floating around for some time. We found a few examples on the Internet. In fact, our Main Branch in Exton, PA created a similar tree in the local mall, which is where we got the idea. We did tweak it a bit for our lobby – here are some instructions:
Start with some books – actually, start with lots of books. We used adult non-fiction books because they are all of similar size (height, depth and width). Most of the books we used were donated titles. We selected them for their cover colors (red, green, white, gold). For once – it was good to judge a book by its cover.
Lay out your first row – placing the books end to end in a gentle circle. Each layer needs to be made of books that are the same depth so your tree does not tilt to one side. the next row should be staggered – like laying bricks. For the third row, we chose to make that layer of books open – this added a Pine Tree feel. You don’t have to do this – but if you do, you need to make sure the open books are also about the same height. For every 2 or 3 rows, the book in the back will have to be turned 90 degrees so that the rows begin to get every so much smaller as the tree goes up. Don’t rush this – it seems to happen on its own.
After approx 12 rows, we place a set of boards across the tree to tie the sides together. We used old wood shelves, but any strong board or even heavy duty cardboard would do.
We placed a second set of boards under the first vertical row of books. This row has 2 titles with the spine out and then one with the pages out. The “backward” book is fanned open to help support the rows above it.
After some additional horizonal books, we used a round piece of cardboard and some old VHS cases for the second set of vertical titles. Then topped the tree with small Books on Tape cases and a bow.
The whole tree is just under 6 feet tall. We forgot to count the items used – but best guess is around 250. We put the restraints around it because the tree’s exsistance created a need in people both young and old to see if they might be able to pull one book from the tree – sort of a monsterous Janga puzzle. It has received numerous comments and we are already wondering how we can top this next year.