Clark Nexsen’s Rachel Murdaugh Wins Chronicle Books’ Choice Award in the Little Free Library Design Competition

Rachel Murdaugh, Clark Nexsen, competition winning entry

Little Free Libraries can be found in front yards, community centers, and public spaces all over the world. They support literacy and provide access to books on the community level. The first Little Free Library was created in 2009; now there are over 40,000 Little Free Library sites stewarded in over 70 countries, exchanging millions of books a year.

Chronicle Books partnered with Little Free Library and the AIA's San Francisco chapter on the first-ever Little Free Library Design Competition this past October challenging designers to come up with the perfect Little Free Library. The competition brief asked entrants to consider "the height difference between child and adult patrons, motion sensor lighting, balancing form and function, and having a place for a late-night dog walker to tie up their pup so they could do some perusing."

The winners of the competition were recently announced, with the entry from Rachel Murdaugh of Clark Nexsen’s Asheville office selected as the Chronicle Books’ Choice. The Chronicle Books team found her entry “a thoughtful and impressive alignment of style and substance, and that the materials chosen were very smart from a production standpoint.”

The Choice category focused specifically on designs that are flat-pack, lightweight (under 42 pounds) and made from eco-friendly materials. Chronicle Books is currently discussing production of her design with Murdaugh.

Describing her entry, Murdaugh writes, "The components flat pack easily, and the hinging construction of the frame streamlines assembly. Simply unfold the base frame, attach the flanges, and construct the cabinet and seat according to an instruction pamphlet using provided hardware. In effect, this design maximizes the functionality of the book kiosk as a means of emphasizing its role as an intersection of community and learning, while elegantly maintaining ease of assembly.”

According to Chronicle, the competition “received 300 designs from 40 countries, from Tehran to Toronto, Georgia the country to Georgia the state, and many places in between. Some were freestanding structures that you could practically live in, some were designs that affixed to existing infrastructure like parking signs and light poles. All were bound by a love of learning and the role books play in it.”

On why books are important, Murdaugh said, “Reading books increases our capacity for empathy. Through the written words of another person, we are able to experience life from vantage points totally different from our own. In doing this, we enhance our ability to sympathize with various worldviews that would otherwise be totally alien to us.”

Check out all the winning Little Free Library designs here: