A North Kildonan family is encouraging readers to enjoy books anywhere — even in their own front yard.
Maria Sanchez and Rory McDonnell have started up a Little Free Library in front of their Gilmore Avenue home. McDonnell found the program online, mentioned it to Sanchez, and within days, was constructing the welcoming, mini-gazebo-style library, complete with a bench, over the course of about a month out of 100% recycled lumber.
After Sanchez paid the $34.95 US to register, the family soon received its official plaque, placed its first books in the cupboard, and watched neighbours enjoy the printed word.
"People will get a book, they’ll sit on the bench and read for 20 minutes and decide whether or not they’ll want to read on," McDonnell said.
The family’s setup has already caught the eye of movement organizers, who are based in Wisconsin, as the North Kildonan library was named as a Library of Distinction shortly after it opened last month.
Sanchez hopes to help build literacy in the community through the selection of adult, young adult, and children’s books.
"The motto is ‘Take one, leave one, or both,’" explained Sanchez. "You don’t necessarily need to leave a book in order to take one. It’s open to everybody in the neighbourhood, and the city."
Sanchez said the library started with about 20 books at the start of May, and the roster has now ballooned to approximately 200 titles.
"There have been lots of donations from people in the community," she said.
Sanchez said daughters Ella, nine, and Naima, seven, act as librarians for the little library, which features authors ranging from Stephen King to Beverly Cleary.
In addition to getting more people reading, the family hopes it will create a positive attitude in the community.
"We don’t want that big-city feel where everyone in a stranger. We want to know our neighbours," said McDonnell.
"We’ve had tons of responses from the local community saying it’s so good to bring the spirit back to North Kildonan," added Sanchez.
For more information, visit the library's Facebook page.