Free little library set on fire early Canada Day in Regina

The free little library was located in the Normanview area.

'Books are so precious': library owner Darlene Krauss

The free little library was well used and loved by the community, Darlene Krauss said. (Submitted by Darlene Krauss)

Darlene Krauss was woken up by her doorbell ringing non-stop. She said her husband went to look out the peephole and saw the fire in their front yard. 

Someone had set their free little library on fire. It's their dollhouse-sized outdoor container holding books that the public can help themselves to.

A good Samaritan had woken them up and grabbed the garden hose, Krauss said. There wasn't a lot of pressure as it was hooked up to their rain barrel, she said, but the fire department was there in a few minutes. 

It took a firetruck full of water to put out the flames on the little library, Darlene Krauss said. (Submitted by Darlene Krauss)

For Krauss, the worst thing was how close their home came to catching on fire. The fir tree above the library touches the roof of their house. 

"My heart did a real drop inside my chest," she said. 

"We heard or smelled nothing because our bedroom faces the backyard rather than the front," Krauss said. "So it was a little shocking to be rudely awakened on Canada Day with this sort of crisis."

Darlene and Marty Krauss started their free little library in May, 2018. (Submitted by Darlene Krauss)

Krauss didn't get the man's name who helped but said she's grateful to him for stopping. 

Their free little library first opened in May, 2018. It also has a little drawer for people to leave gardening seeds for others to share. The free little library is located in the Normanview neighbourhood, and has a bench nearby that's used by readers, Krauss said. 

"They just love it," she said. "This is devastating but we will rebuild as quickly as we can."

Darlene Krauss said they hope to rebuild before the fall and have their next little library open for the winter. (Submitted by Darlene Krauss)

Since word spread about the fire, the community response was overwhelming, Krauss said. People have been sending her messages from all over, as far as Italy, and saying they're glad Krauss will rebuild. 

"There are good people in this world, even when bad things happen. And thank goodness for that," Krauss said. "And it outshines the bad."

Books are so precious and there's too many children and teens these days that they're entertainment is their phones.- Darlene Krauss

The community has supported the library with a number of books in the past, she said, including one family bringing 17 bags, young boys bringing wagons full, and more. 

"Your heart just grows and beats so strong and happily," Krauss said when people donate. 

"Books are so precious and there's too many children and teens these days [whose] entertainment is their phones," she said. "It's so important to teach them how to read — that they can go into another world just by reading a story."

A Good Samaritan alerted them to the fire, Darlene Krauss said, and tried to put it out. The fire department arrived in minutes, she said. (Submitted by Darlene Krauss)

The Fire Department said it was arson, and the fire started in the children's book section, Krauss said. 

They hope to rebuild before the fall, she said, as they had their library open last winter and it was well used over those months. 

"We're hoping that it will continue with the generous people of the Normanview and surrounding community."

The Krauss family is telling people looking to donate that they're especially in need of books for children, tweens and teenagers. People can donate at the other free library in the community or the North Regina Little League is also accepting donations.