Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Smallest Library and the Story Behind it

In memory of my dear friend Barbara Madrid...

You've heard the saying,

Books are the passport to the world!
Allow me to introduce to you a miniature world! 

My friend, Barbara Madrid, is a miniature enthusiasts and is a member of NAME, the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts. When she learned that I was interested in children's books, she gave me one of hers!
See how tiny that is? I couldn't believe there were pages with words on it. I haven't read the story yet because that will require a microscope of some sort. As a children's book lover, I thought it was the most unique and best gift I've ever received. I took a picture of the book with a quarter to give you an idea of its size.

The question that begs to be asked?

 "Where do you keep a book this small?"

On a miniature bookshelf at a miniature library, of course!

Barbara is in the process of completing her miniature library. This miniature book is one of 50 books that she assembled herself. 

I thought it would be interesting to share with you Barbara's library, which is displayed in her home in San Francisco along with her other doll houses. 

Below Barbara gives you a tour of her library and shares her story behind her craft. Enjoy the tour!

Introducing, THE LINCOLN LIBRARY, by Barbara Madrid
The view from outside the library.

The namesake displayed prominently on the wall.

The rear bookshelf are stocked with handmade books. In the bookshelves to the right are hand-painted blocks of books.

Notice the decorative wallpaper and an actual wood floor.

A librarian assisting a young boy. On the wall are reduced copies of 1910 photographs of the Grand Central Station, City Hall, and the American Museum of Natural History, which are noted New York buildings.

The Lincoln Library is located next to The Allegiance Academy where all of their students have library cards!

Thank you so much for the tour! Now let's meet the talented woman behind the extraordinary hobby...

Barbara Madrid!

Barbara Madrid is a member of NAME, National Association of Miniature Enthusiast

What got you interested in this hobby?
My interest in miniatures began when I was a small child and my grandfather handcrafted some miniature furnitures for me. I didn't have a dollhouse then but in 1997, my husband decided I should have a hobby and bought my first dollhouse as a Christmas gift. When I saw all of the pieces needed to make the 9-room house, I thought the build would be an impossible task.

Over the next 12-years, we worked on the house together and in 2009, we had added electrical lights and the house was ready for its occupants (see photo below).


When did you start crafting doll houses and what have you completed so far?
I have been doing miniatures since about 1997. I've completed 2 houses- one a residence and the other, a 3-story multi-shop building with a floral shop, dress shop, and an accountant's office. I've also completed 7 display boxes, which include a music conservatory, a bakery, and antique store, a sewing shop, a grocery store, a middle school, and the library. 

How do you decide what to build next?
I usually find a single piece of furniture I like and then build the room around it. When I found the corner bookshelf for the library, I knew I wanted more than the usual block books to fill it. A web search brought me to where I purchased paper book kits with wonderfully detailed covers.

What is the most difficult part of your hobby?
I have found the most difficult part of building a dollhouse is understanding the blueprints. That is when my husband, a skilled machinist, comes in handy. He's great at the construction and electrical parts. I do the fun part, which is the interior decorating. Installing the wallpaper can be tricky, but careful measurements makes the job a lot easier. I usually do a combination of wallpaper and paint to add a variety of textures.

What do you enjoy most about your hobby?
Selecting the furnishings is the most fun of dollhouse miniatures and I shop the internet, local dollhouse stores, and attend miniature shows for items I need. I also add homemade touches by including crochet or knitted blankets, and clay plants.

Dollhouse miniatures is a wonderful activity for any age and I'm forever thankful my husband reintroduced me to this wonderful hobby.

 It is truly fascinating to learn this enchanting world of miniatures. I've been to quite a few libraries, but never have I seen a library like this. Thank you so much, Barbara, for sharing your story!

Books bring people together!

Interesting facts:
  • In miniatures the scale is 1/12 inch = 1 foot. For example, a 6-inch miniature doll is equivalent to a person who is 6-feet tall.
  • The difference between a doll house and a display box is the size- dollhouses are generally 34" H x 12-1/2" D x 33-3/4" W; a display box is about 11-1/4" H x 10-1/4" D x 12-3/4" W.  A dollhouse has multiple rooms and a display box depicts a single room.

What is the most interesting library you've ever visited? Please share.



  1. I looove it! I have an unhealthy (LOL!) obsession with doll houses and miniatures, so I can't let myself get into it as a hobby or I'd never do anything else, like housework or homeschooling the kids or writing/art. Thanks for sharing Barbara's intricate and incredible handiwork with us!

    1. You're welcome, Teresa! Wow, I didn't know that about you. :) Well, you definitely workout your right brain. Now, that's healthy!

  2. My kiddo loves making tiny toys for her barbies. I'll have to show this post to her!

    1. Looks like you have a miniature enthusiast in the making!

  3. Wow, this is amazing! The effort that goes into all this work is mind-boggling. I really like the concept of the mini library, too!



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