This ‘Doctor Who’-inspired free library in Detroit is done up like a TARDIS

National Book Foundation / Twitter

Free libraries are one of the coolest trends that have popped up across America in recent years, and Detroit might have the best one yet. At the corner of Vermont Street and Warren West Avenue in the Motor City, you can see a life-sized replica of the TARDIS time machine from BBC’s “Doctor Who.”

Of course, this TARDIS won’t literally take you through space and time—but it can take you to places you can only reach by reading a good book. It’s at once the nerdiest and coolest thing ever!

In “Doctor Who,” TARDIS stands for “Time And Relative Dimension In Space,” but in this case, it stands for “Totally Awesome Reading Dispensary In Society.” This elaborate, not-so-little free library was built by Detroit resident Dan Zemke, who told The Verge, “I wanted to help make our neighborhood a bit cooler and make that spot somewhere that people would want to check out.”

I’d say he’s accomplished both goals!

Little Free Libraries, which now can be found in cities and towns across the country, are typically small bookshelves set up in people’s yards that encourage readers to take a book for free and leave another in return. It’s a novel concept (pun intended) that relies on the honor system and people’s love of books. The ones you might have seen in your own neighborhood look more like little cabinets with a clear door in front.

little free library photo
Flickr | Rick Obst

Zemke’s creation is far more ambitious. His TARDIS library stands at 10 feet tall, weighs nearly 2,000 pounds and can hold about 140 books, according to The Verge. He built it last year with the help of his father, whose workshop gave them the room to put together something so large. He entered their creation into the Michigan-based ArtPrize competition for 2017 and, even though they didn’t win, his community has been enjoying the practical work of art.

“It’s been a really positive experience so far,” Zemke said.

A quick search of Instagram shows that other Little Free Library creators have been similarly inspired. For example, Instagram user @trashless.kate shared this photo of a LFL designed to look like a firehouse:

Instagram user @little.foxglove.library took a little field trip to this robot-shaped LFL:

And look at this gorgeous little library shared by Instagram user @theryman:

What’s the wackiest Little Free Library you’ve seen?


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About the Author
Clint Davis
Clint has watched way too many TV shows and movies and makes a great partner for trivia night. He lives in Cincinnati with his wife, baby son and two massive dogs. Visit Scripps News to see more of Clint's work.

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