Dunwoody-built Little Free Libraries coming to a community near you

Student clubs and organizations provide undergrads with unique volunteer and professional development opportunities.

One of the many perks of a Dunwoody education is the abundance of professional clubs and student organizations on campus. With over 20 to choose from, these clubs are more than just extra-curriculars. They serve as valuable ways for students to meet industry professionals, participate in community outreach, and build their résumés and portfolios.

And the College’s National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) student chapter, led by Construction Project Management Instructor Jon Hassenfritz, is no exception.

Photo of one of the student-built Little Free Libraries.Students build Little Free Libraries for BATC

Earlier this semester, the NAHB student chapter was approached with a unique volunteer opportunity: to help build three Little Free Libraries for the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC).

The libraries resemble small houses and operate as a free book exchange for anyone interested. Once constructed, the student-built libraries would be put on display—and to work—in the towns of Oakdale (near Cardinal Place neighborhood), Apple Valley (near the Government Center and the city library and park) and Anoka (near Walker Methodist senior living community).

“The goal is to encourage reading at home as studies have shown that having more books at home improves literacy levels and school-readiness among children,” said Heather Griffis, BATC Office Manager and project coordinator.

Photo of Dunwoody students working on the Little Free Library

Photo Credit: Builders Association of Twin Cities

“BATC’s relationship with Dunwoody and the Construction department at Dunwoody has always been good. It’s important to us to work with our members. We thought this was a good opportunity for the students at Dunwoody to do something fun while working on their degree.”

NAHB members and project volunteers John Jeske, John Bautch and Bradley Toenges agreed, jumping right in to the project.

Student activities promote professional development

Hassenfritz said that throughout the project Jeske, Bautch, and Toenges were able to enhance their building and project management skills.

“We were provided with two designs for the libraries and then were able to design the third one ourselves,” Hassenfritz explained. “Students had to learn to read and understand the build plans so that they could cut and assemble the houses.”

The students were also able expand their knowledge of a variety of different hand and power tools.

Photo of one of the Little Free Libraries.“Participating in the student chapter of the NAHB has a lot of benefits for students,” Hassenfritz said. “Through the club they have access to networking events, trade shows and many other experiences that other students don’t.”

“This gives them the opportunity to meet and talk with people in the residential construction field. These connections they make can open up opportunities for internships and full-time employment,” he said.

Learn more

The libraries are currently in their final building stages. Upon completion, the finished houses will be sent back to the BATC for painting and decorating. The finished products are expected to be installed by the end of the summer.

Learn more about where these libraries can be found.

Learn more about Construction Management.