The Library Shall Have No Lights3 min read
I had just started reading some of the older cabin related books in my collection due to the abundance of time lately. As part of my cabin plan, I've been allocating time and energy toward finding the least expenditure of resources that's practical while still giving me a comfortable living.
Although not quite a tiny "house" by some measures, the space in which I'm comfortable spending most of my time, besides the main living structure, will probably be the library. An 8ft x 8ft structure with one window and one door with a built-in window or two windows and a door without one built-in. And no other sources of light. This might seem counter-productive for a library, but not running any electricity to the structure was a carefully thought out decision.
I want to spend more time absorbing what I read.
The Internet has trained me to gorge and regurgitate without properly digesting information and I'd like to unlearn this behavior. Most of the time I spend reading isn't as enjoyable when processed through an electronic display. It's getting harder to read books because of my digital habit of scanning before context and nuance are properly steeped in the brew of my transient thoughts. Part of this is the faster pace of information and part is the environment. I feel having the information always available is making it rarely appreciated.
Limiting reading time to daylight hours will also, hopefully, re-calibrate my resting period. This isn't the same as putting the phone into airplane mode or putting time trackers or other such contrivances. I dislike setting alarms when waking up, despite having done so since high school. I don't feel very motivated to set similar alarms to stop reading. Understanding that consumption of information has a limited period of productive use need not come with locks, but with the gradual hint of a setting Sun.
The two sources of light, the window(s) and door, are to give ample illumination to read while giving me the best reading clock possible.
There will also be no clocks in the library.
I've been looking at the best approach to build such a structure, and ultimately settled on a modified ice fishing shanty. That website is a wonderful resource for many other ideas.
The original plans were for a 6x6 shanty, but the structure is simple enough that modifying it to 8x8 is rather simple. Most U.S. building materials, particularly sheet materials such as plywood, typically come in 2ft increments.
Because of its size, I feel it's possible to build with mostly leftover material from the main structure and a few other scavenged parts. The windows in particular are simple enough, that I'm sure I'll find some removed from a previous demolition. Their sizes are flexible too. The door doesn't need the immaculate appearance of a mansion either and I'm confident that it too can be scavenged. If I can't secure two windows and if the door doesn't have one, it's a simple matter to install a window in the door with the tools I have.
My book collection isn't that large and I feel a single wall-to-wall bookshelf will give me years of reading. I hope to keep only the books I intend to read over-and-over and give away the rest as I finish them to the local library. I will also plan the location of my cabin near such a library for both convenience and to maintain my contact to the outside world. There really is a difference between solitude and loneliness.