Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Manon's Stick Library

Manon had a brain wave this spring to further redirect the many dogs that come by from messing with her garden. [You might recall a previous effort from 2021] In addition to having a water bowl, she decided to add a stick library.

I was very happy to help her with a sign.

The first version was done with felt tip pens on yellow paper with a plastic cover. It did the job, but within a few weeks, the sunlight had faded it.

Manon decided she needed a better sign. She found a blank wooden oval at Dollarama and asked me to do the lettering with acrylic paint.

Manon giving chalking the sidewalk to inform the users of the library services
The Stick Librarian chalking directions featuring Stick Library Sign Mark I

How we made Stick Library Sign Mark II

Although I have a steady hand with felt tips and pencil crayons, I'm pretty useless with a paint brush. So I made stencils. 

Here's what I did:

  1. Scanned the oval and uploaded the image so I could have the exact shape and size in GIMP (free image manipulation software)
  2. Gave the wooden oval three coats of bright yellow acrylic paint - letting it dry between each coat
  3. Used GIMP to mark out the text with a nice sans-serif font, including the curved bits (had to Google to find out how to curve a line of text with GIMP, but it wasn't too hard).
  4. Printed it on a sheet of paper 
  5. Taped a clear plastic sheet over the paper. 
  6. Making sure to do it in stencil fashion, used an exacto knife to carve out the letters in the plastic.
  7. Taped the plastic stencil sheet over the sign
  8. Painted the letters with black and purple acrylic paint. 
  9. Removed the stencil
  10. Filled in the empty bits of the letters and covered over where the paint spilled outside the stencil lines (mostly)
  11. Glued on the butterfly, flower and heart pieces that Manon had painted
  12. Graciously invited Manon to paint the rim with the colour of her choice, which happened to be silver
  13. Sprayed it with three coatings of a UV-protective coating
  14. Attached the wooden oval to a piece of wood I spray painted yellow a long time ago and attached a rare earth magnet from a discarded hard drive to the wood so the sign would stay attached to the metal bucket (I've had both the wood and the magnet at least 15 years - illustrating why one should never throw anything away that might be useful some day)
A month later, the new sign is still looking very bright.

Impact of the No-Late-Fee Policy?

one of those hard drive magnets screwed to the sign stand
Keep those old computer parts!

While I'm a big fan of libraries encouraging access by not having late fees, I'm afraid that Manon's adoption of the no-late-fee policy means that sticks are seldom returned and the collection is getting depleted. If you have extra sticks hanging around, you'd be welcome to drop them here.

Or we'll just wait until the next derecho

Another impact

It might be my imagination, but I've noticed that when we're out on the patio in the evening, people walking by with their dogs seem to be smiling at us more than they used to.


zoom said...

The rare earth magnet was a stroke of genius, and the silver rim is my favourite design element. I'll keep my eyes open for good sticks.

Anonymous said...

Just saying....I don't think an American would have thought of this! Great work Manon and David! Ed B.

David Scrimshaw said...

I wouldn't discount your fellow Americans' ingenuity, Ed. But that said, the first stick library branch that we heard about was founded in 2019 in New Zealand.