Daniel Steinhart, a healthcare administrator from my neighborhood of Tahoe Park, constructed a “Little Free Library” near his home in Tahoe Park. This one is notable for its incredibly geeky shape: a 1960s-era police call box from the UK, now popularly known as the TARDIS, the ship The Doctor (as in “Doctor Who”) uses to travel through spacetime.
A Little Free Library is a pop-up “take a book, return a book” lending library installation that people can use to recycle books and related stuff (toys/games) with their neighbors. The library is bigger on the inside, with everyone in the community sharing what they can.
Steinhart made the box by hand with his daughter, a major Whovian (“Doctor Who” fan) who was inspired by a little free library she saw in Berkeley, and of course by the “madman with a box” himself. “We designed on the fly and just kept checking the pictures for reference,” he says. It has a working light on top and a molto bene “TARDIS-blue” paint job, perfectly matched thanks to the help of the Home Depot paint department.
“People like it but many are confused about what it is,” says his co-artist. Hence the sign out front explaining what it is, using language that perfectly fits with the original warning on the police box, familiar to Whovians (and I suppose, to older folks from the UK).
The crafters spent a few months on the box, working around the rain spell earlier in the year, and are still waiting for use of the library to really take off. Word-of-mouth has meant that mostly friends and neighbors have seen it so far. Steinhart has also used Nextdoor to get the word out (this is how I found it) and he has enjoyed the response there.
If this sounds like your bag, allons-y down to 6154 2nd Avenue. Its creators request that you please not dump “boxes of stuff” in there and keep it family friendly. Just knock four times and drop your stuff! And of course, fellow Whovians are invited to contribute bowties and “jelly babies.” But if you hear the cloister bell make sure you run. Hello sweetie, spoilers scarf deleted fish fingers and custard and other Doctor Who references! Who’s ready for that 12th Doctor, eh!?