'Little free libraries' coming to northwestern Ontario

The township of Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls plans to promote reading and boost community spirit by building some free libraries.
The idea for the Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls little free libraries come from the 'Little Free Library' organization, which encourages communities to start a program to promote literacy and build a sense of community. (littlefreelibrary.org)

The township of Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls plans to promote reading and boost community spirit by building so-called little free libraries.

The libraries, also known as book trading posts, resemble bird-houses. People can leave a book inside or take one.

Project organizer Denise Lysak said she’d like to see these places become neighbourhood hangouts and symbols of community pride.

"So we really want it to instill that sense of community,” she said.

“If you didn't know who might have been down the street a month ago, you might meet them at that little free library when you're taking a book or leaving a book."

The organizers are referring to these libraries as "Lake of the Woods Book Trading Posts."

The project was inspired by the Little Free Library organization which encourages communities to start this program, with the aim of promoting literacy and building a sense of community.

Lysak said she was motivated after reading about Todd Bol, a man from Hudson, Wisc., who created the first Little Free Library. He made a box shaped like a one-room school house to honour his mother, who was a teacher.

All kinds of books inside

The boxes can come in all shapes and sizes, resembling everything from British telephone booths to little log cabins.

The group will host two community workshops where people will discuss how to proceed with the project. They will also figure out what the two main libraries — or book trading posts — in Sioux Narrows and Nestor Falls will look like.

They have obtained a grant to design and install the first two little libraries, but the hope is that, as time goes by, people will start making their own.

"Our aim is that the book trading posts will start popping up everywhere,” Lysak said.

“They'll stand in quiet residential streets or along gravel road corridors, or even on docks.”

What kind of books will be inside?

"There's so many great works of literature and stories to share that, really, I think it's whatever people want to put in that little free library,” Lysak said.

Initial reaction to the project has been positive, she added.

"I think, given the indication so far, that we'll have a really, really good response, and that it will last. It won't just be a blip, right. It will continue on."

The workshop for Sioux Narrows is on May 29 at 7 p.m. at the Northern Ontario Sportfishing Centre, and the workshop for Nestor Falls is June 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the community centre.

Lysak said the township will install two little libraries by late summer or early fall.


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