A crowd of bookworms some 30 strong gathered in downtown Sidney to help unveil that community’s first free public library connected with an international promoter of literacy.
Located at 9710 First St., the book-sharing library is registered with Little Free Library, a U.S.-based nonprofit whose self-described mission is to be a “catalyst for building community, inspiring readers, and expanding book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led Little Free Libraries.”
Little free libraries are in mostly weatherproof boxes placed around communities. Their popularity has grown in recent years thanks to organizations like Little Free Library and locally, the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network, which maintains a record of more than 460 such community libraries across Greater Victoria. Book sharing boxes generally operate on a take-a-book, leave-a-book principle, but also receive donations.
Adrianna Hatton, who co-created the library with Malcolm McKenzie, told the News Review the origin of the library dates back to a conversation they had back in March.
“We are both readers and I said ‘wouldn’t it be nice if we had a little free library at the front door, so people can read more,’” Hatton said. “And he thought it was a great idea.”
She said later she had heard of them, but never seen one before. “So we just looked up online and noticed that there were a number in Victoria, but none in Sidney that I had seen. We need them out here.”
A least two book-sharing boxes already exist in Sidney, but are not certified, Hatton said.
According to the Little Free Library website, official registration grants access to a network of support and benefits, including global promotion and deep discounts on books.
The box built by McKenzie has room for between 20 and 30 books and consists of reclaimed wood along with other donations. It also features original artwork from both founders. “It’s a pretty nice looking one if I say so myself,” he said.
The idea was proving to be an instant success, Hatton said.
“People have been giving me books as they can and there are more people bringing books today.”
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