Ken Shields and his wife, Ghislaine, have set up a brightly-coloured, birdhouse-like book exchange station on Ruttan Street. 

It's at least the third or fourth such station in Thunder Bay and one of hundreds of branches of "little free libraries"  around the world. 

"It's just a community thing," said Shields. "And the access 24/7 for anybody to get a book -- it just speaks to community and literacy and helping out your fellow person."  

Passers-by are free to help themselves to books from the library or to leave books for others to borrow.

"There's no Dewey Decimal System, no library cards," said Shields, adding that his wife "has a little log book there for people to maybe put a few notes about a book that they've enjoyed that they've left behind, or comments or whatever.  That's as organized as it gets, I think."

The idea for the project came during a trip to the U.S. last summer when the couple noticed a Little Free Library set up near International Falls, Minnesota, Shields said.

His wife is the "librarian" for the Ruttan Street exchange.  He took care of building the structure.

"I found a plan that I thought I could tackle -- I'm not a master carpenter by any means," he added.

The Shields will launch the library Wednesday, Aug. 13, from 6 to 9 p.m. at 24 Ruttan St.