Big plans for a little library at Share-It Square

by: Rita A. Leonard Portland’s “Little Library at Share-It Square” was framed out in June.

Chris Hobson has some big ideas for small spaces. The Sellwood carpenter is building a small mobile dwelling near Share-It Square that will become 'Portland's Little Library' at S.E. 9th and Sherrett Street.

The 54-square-foot structure - constructed on a boat trailer base - will include a bed, a small kitchen and dining area, a small deck, and lots of shelving for about 160 books.

'It will be an established library at Share-It Square, with posted hours of use - until someone buys it,' smiles Hobson.

The novel library is built with reclaimed and donated materials, and is the first in a series of customized little houses that Hobson plans to develop through his Internet website: .

'We have ideas for other similar projects,' says Chris. 'My wife is a seamstress, and we're also a theater company; so my next 'little house' will be a mobile costume shop. Since I work as a DJ, I also have plans for a small mobile recording studio.'

Inspired by his mom, Laura Davis, Hobson has developed a keen appreciation for comparative literature and the history of book publishing. 'I'm currently taking a lot of literature courses at PCC, and also work in their theater department there,' he reveals.

'At our little library, I want to promote 'story time' for children, reading groups for adults, creative writing, and film appreciation through classes and workshops offered at our library website: . My mom has taught creative writing, and guitar and piano lessons, for years in the Portland Metro area. She will teach some of the classes. You can call her at 503/348-2393.'

Hobson was born in Milwaukie, but lived in eastern Oregon for 10 years. 'I built 350 houses and commercial buildings in Idaho, and I have a lot of experience with eco-friendly materials,' he comments.

'All of the small houses will be built according to our own design and blueprints, but they'll all use reclaimed materials, for a unique look. They will be customized to include electrical, propane, and plumbing hook-ups, and can be stationary or mobile dwellings. Starting at 60 square feet, they can be used for studios, guest homes, shops, or living spaces."

The concept of small dwellings, little libraries, and mobile businesses that can be easily moved to other site, is part of the trend toward down-sizing and living with less.