Edmonton family thrilled to have free library back

A little free library mysteriously taken from an Edmonton family's front yard last week has been returned.

Man who walked off with it didn't understand why it was out in the yard, owner says

The little free library has been reinstalled in its original spot. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

A little free library mysteriously taken from an Edmonton family's front yard last week has been returned.

Laurel Nikolai answered the door of her Pleasantview home Sunday afternoon to a stranger .

"He said, 'I'm the one that took your little free library, and I'd like to apologize to you,' "she said.

Nikolai and her husband, Peter MacKenzie, and the couple's twin 11-year-old daughters built the library over the summer as a family project.

It was only in their front yard for about a week when it went missing overnight Wednesday or Thursday.

Friend heard story on CBC 

Nikolai said the man told her a friend had heard about the missing library on CBC Radio and told him about it.

"He had not realized what a little free library was," she said. "And he saw it was near the sidewalk, and so he didn't realize that it was something we had out there for people to share."

Nikolai said the man apologized and later that day his wife dropped off a cake.

Family members went to the man's house Sunday night and picked up the library. They had to reassemble it, because the roof had been taken off.

Laurel Nikolai and her husband, Peter MacKenzie, put books back into their little library. (David Jones)

Nikolai said her family was touched by the outpouring of support from the community.

"We ... had three offers to rebuild," she said. "Home Depot offered to build us a library, Habitat for Humanity offered to build us a library."

Neighbours dropped off a card for her daughters, saying how much they loved the library.

"There are beautiful people in the world," Nikolai said.

Confident it would come back

She said her daughters always believed the library would be returned.

"They kept saying, 'We knew it would come back. We knew someone would return it.' "

Nikolai said her family has forgiven the man who took the library.

"People make mistakes," she said. "I'm grateful that when this man made the mistake, he owned up to it and apologized."

The library is now chained to a big cinderblock in their yard.

The free little library now has a security feature. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)




Nola Keeler is an award-winning journalist who has worked with CBC in Whitehorse, Yukon and Edmonton since 2000. She has worked as a host, reporter, news reader and producer for CBC. Send story ideas to nola.keeler@cbc.ca.