You just finished reading a book when you think to yourself, everyone should read this.
Now, what if you could share your most treasured finds with your community?
That’s the simple idea behind Little Free Library. All you have to do is buy or build a library about the size of a doll or birdhouse, place it at the end of your driveway or in a communal neighbourhood spot, fill it with books and then see what happens. Encouraging passersby to take a book, leave a book or both, makes a positive impact in the community, adds charm and character to a neighbourhood but most importantly, it promotes literacy.
The Little Free Library initiative has become an international movement and was started by Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin. In 2009 he built a model of a schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, who was a teacher. He filled the little schoolhouse with books, placed it in his front yard with the sign that read Free Books. His neighbours and friends embraced the concept and so he built more little libraries and gave them away. By the end of January 2014 according to the organization’s website, there were about 15,000 Little Free Libraries registered around the world with thousands more being built.
For Katherine Ross of Muskoka Lakes, Ont., it’s “all about the love of reading.” Her little library is located in a most unusual spot. Ross inserted a bookshelf into a hollow tree along a rural road where most of her neighbours are only there for the cottage season. “I wanted the cottagers who travel the road to be surprised and delighted by seeing a library in the woods,” she said in an email. “I had a big collection of books I wanted to share and have had great feedback from the neighbours. Now that they know it’s there they are putting their favourite books into the library.”
Susan Hughes of the Literacy Council of South Temiskaming attests to the benefit of the program, touting Little Free Library as an “unstructured way of reading”. The organization set up three little libraries in the South Temiskaming area.
“There are no cards or hours of operation,” she said. “If you’re having a sleepless night and need something to read, they are there. You never know what books you will find.” The Little Free Library program helps develop a culture of learning, which is an integral part of the City of Greater Sudbury’s Learning City initiative.
Sudbury was declared a Learning City in May 2012 in an effort to prioritize lifelong learning. Education builds a resilient workforce and helps citizens contribute to the economy, which ultimately, strengthens the community. When you Learn More, you Live Better. While there currently aren’t any registered Little Free Libraries in Greater Sudbury, it’s so simple to start one. You can purchase the library from the Little Free Library website, or download step-by-step instructions to build your own or custom design your very own. From used wine crates to handcrafted boxes, the organization encourages people to use recycled materials which, ultimately, make these libraries works of art. The library doesn’t have to be outdoors. It could be placed in a coffee shop, entrance to a building, or at your workplace. Just remember to make it official and register your Little Free Library with the organization.
To get more details and learn more about this great program, go to www.littlefreelibrary.org.