Making Little Free Libraries

Read more about [bc]'s Little Free Libraries!

One year after five Dallas Police Officers were killed in Downtown Dallas, we celebrated the opening of five libraries in their memory. We hope you take a book or leave a book at one of the five locations. Read in Peace. 

Thank you to filmmaker Mark Birnbaum for volunteering his time to make this video. 

Little Free Libraries Code Amendment Update

See more posts on Little Free Libraries!

On October 26, 2016 the Development Code Amendment regarding Little Free Libraries in the City of Dallas was heard by the Dallas City Council:

  • Item 60. A public hearing to receive comments regarding amendments to Chapter 51 and Chapter 51A of the Dallas Development Code, Section 51-4.217 and Section 51A-4.217, “Accessory Uses,” providing regulations for book exchange structures as accessory outside storage and an ordinance granting the amendments.

The adopted motion was to “treat landscaping, ornamental structures (front yard accessories) and lawn furniture by right,” meaning no new code restrictions would be placed on “book exchange structures” or Little Free Libraries.

  • Voting Yes: [14] Rawlings, Alonzo, Wilson, Griggs, Medrano, Thomas, Callahan, Young, Clayton, McGough, Kleinman, Greyson, Gates, Kingston
  • Voting No: [1] Arnold  

While the City of Dallas will not restrict the size or location of Little Free Libraries on private property, if you are considering placing a LFL on your private property, we recommend contacting you HOA (if applicable) for any restrictions that may affect your library structure.

Our thanks goes to everyone who contacted their councilperson and expressed their opinion of the Development Code Amendment!

See and the links below for more resources for Little Free Libraries!

Little Free Libraries "Call for Volunteers" event recap

Thank you to all those who could attend the “Call for Volunteers” event for the new phase of  Little Free Libraries commemorating the fallen officers. Those who were unable to attend the event last week, here is a quick recap of the evening and how you get involved!

"Call for Volunteers" event brought together people interested to help design and build 5 little free libraries to commemorate fallen officers

"Call for Volunteers" event brought together people interested to help design and build 5 little free libraries to commemorate fallen officers

The evening began with a brief introduction and history of Little Free Library/ Libros Libres program. This program began three years ago as a collaboration with BigThought and the Dallas Public Library. The current project was introduced by the reading of a letter from donor Helen Stassen, which explained her interest in donating the libraries in memory of the officers. Helen lost her son to gun violence 6 years ago. This tragic loss made her family feel the need to “do something” that would help them remember and heal from the loss. They decided to build a Little Free Library in memory of their son. While keeping the memory of their son alive, the library has helped them connect and contribute to their community. After the July incident in Dallas where five police officers lost their lives, the Stassen family felt the need to do something to help the healing of Dallas community. They hope to do so by donating 5 little free libraries as memorials for the fallen officers. They wish that the Dallas community is able to benefit and heal by helping and contributing to the community through these libraries.

Joli Robinson from Dallas Police, community affairs department spoke about their hopes and the significance of the project as a memorial for the officers. The evening then continued into feedback activities asking the attendees regarding preferred locations for the LFLs in Dallas, hopes and expectations from the project, and stewards,designers and locations suggestions.


Few suggestions that emerged through the feedback activity during the event,

“wonderful way to honor the officers on an ongoing basis...another opportunity for communities to come together”

“I think our community will really appreciate having an accessible reminder to the events that transpired - a meaningful place where community can come together”

“Continues community engagement around a positive memorial that gives back to the community”

“it will be seen as a positive way for the communities affected to engage, heal and grow together, in the hope of preventing further violence”

Do share your hopes and expectations from the project.    


Between now and 10th September we will be finalizing locations, stewards and designers for the 5 Little Free Libraries. Using the total budget of $3000, volunteer designers, stewards and interested participants from the community will work together to design and build the 5 libraries. If you are interested to be a steward or a designer for one of the 5 little free libraries or would like to suggest locations to host these libraries, please write to us at or call us at 214.252.2900

Here is a brief background and images of the Little Free Library/ Libros Libres project so far.

Little Free Libraries/Libros Libres is a literacy and community design initiative in Dallas that uses free book exchanges to support community and promote a culture of reading. The program has brought together local artists, designers, and community leaders to design and build a range of public outdoor book exchanges in West Dallas, South Dallas/Fair Park, and south Oak Cliff. The design and function of the libraries are site-specific and developed through a collaboration between designers and community leaders. 20 LFL/Libros Libres have been completed. You can read more about the project at


Images of all 20 Little Free Libraries designed under the Little Free Library/ Libros Libres program since 2014

Designer Social: July 2016

[bc] invites you to join us for a DESIGNER SOCIAL on WED, JULY 27th from 6:30-7:30pm at 416 S ERVAY ST, DALLAS, TX, 75201.

Designer Socials are opportunities to meet peers, share work, and test ideas in a small group setting with local designers. Throughout 2016 [bc] will continue to share local opportunities, programs, and resources in the Dallas area for designers, architects, artists, engineers, landscape architects, and other design-related professionals to get involved in community-based projects.

At this Designer Social we will share the following opportunities to get involved in your community:

  • Ashley Hollon and Melanie Wood will share how the AIA Dallas' Young Professionals Committee aims to direct young professionals to give back to the community through design. Their mission: Providing networking, professional development and opportunities to give back to the community through design for unlicensed, newly licensed and other young professionals up to 10 years after registration.
  • Patrick Blaydes and Amruta Sakalker will discuss the proposed code amendments affecting existing and future Little Free Libraries in Dallas, and how designers can become advocates for public space. Read more about Little Free Libraries / Libros Libres here.
  • PARK(ing) Day Dallas organizers will share how designers can get involved in this year's event on September 16th, 2016. Attendees will be able to register to reserve a parking space on Main Street to transform into a park for the Downtown Dallas event or sign up to assist other participants with their design or construction needs.

[bc] is convening active and interested designers and design-related professionals to share our experiences and to learn how to build our capacity to help others. At each social we ask attendees to answer questions about their experience with community-based work. Read the recaps of our Designer Socials in February & April!

If you would like to share about a local program or project that you are involved in at our Designer Socials, let us know! Email for more information, and sign up to our monthly newsletter to stay up to date on volunteer & partnership opportunities!

Settlements to Districts - Tracing the Identities of Downtown Dallas Neighborhoods

By Amruta Sakalker

Over the last decade Downtown Dallas has diversified its offerings from a single use office district to include cultural, residential, and entertainment opportunities 24/7. Today’s Downtown Dallas has a rich history of neighborhoods with unique identities and wide range of uses. As Downtown continues to evolve and strengthen its neighborhoods, it is critical to understand the lineage of socio-cultural character, design, and urban fabric that has given the neighborhoods their unique identity. While these identities are malleable, they can impact the direction of development in neighborhoods. Knowing the narratives of identities empowers neighborhoods to evolve stronger representational identities that emerge through their own stories and adds value to them. To illustrate the variety of these evolutions, we trace back Downtown Dallas Districts through this blog post.

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Welcome Amruta Sakalker!

Check out Amruta's page for updates on future projects!

We're excited to welcome Amruta Sakalker as our newest bcFELLOW!

Amruta recently graduated from Penn State with a Masters in Architecture. She received the University Graduate Fellowship from Penn State in 2013, the highest level of award given to incoming graduate student. Her research interest lies in understanding the role of various cultural desires and urban networks in the evolution of a city, especially in urban public spaces. Her master's thesis focused on studying the impact of transient methods of design for civic spaces around extensively used train stations. Before pursuing her masters she was working as a cartographer and project assistant for an urban research and art project called "Cinema City" in Mumbai, India. Working with an interdisciplinary team of artists, architects, film makers, photographers and planners the study focused on how cinema making processes impact the urban fabric of the city through the unorganized small scale industries, settlement patterns, labor flow and development policies. She was also a part of the team exhibiting the project at Berlinale in Germany for an international audience. She was an Associate with SJK Architects in Mumbai for two and a half years where she worked on many hospitality and office projects. Taking forward her experience working in parallel with community based institutions and direct engagement with citizens as clients, she is excited to join [bc] Dallas team.