Lifestyles

Little Free Library shares a love of reading

Ryan, Shelby, Aidan and Senna Entner, with dog Max, have taken on the stewardship of the Little Free Library, a way to share books and their love of reading with East Hill neighbours in Vernon. - Cara Brady/Morning Star
Ryan, Shelby, Aidan and Senna Entner, with dog Max, have taken on the stewardship of the Little Free Library, a way to share books and their love of reading with East Hill neighbours in Vernon.
— image credit: Cara Brady/Morning Star

There it was, just standing on the corner — new to the neighbourhood  and wanting to make friends.

The Little Free Library lets people share their favourite reading material and it’s as simple as bring a book, take a book. The locations can be free-standing, like the box put up by the Entner family on East Hill or inside, like the one in Triumph Coffee downtown with steward Kyla Henry.

The first one was started by Todd Bol in Wisconsin in  2009 when he built a model of a one-room school house as a tribute to his mother, a former teacher, to share her love of reading with his neighbourhood. Other Little Free Libraries started and now there are more than 15,000 Little Free Libraries with books for children and adults around the world in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.

Ryan and Shelby Entner and their children, Aidan and Senna, saw Little Free Libraries when they were traveling in the United States and applied for a charter to start one in Vernon.

“We love to read and we wanted to share our love of reading and meet more of our neighbours. We stocked it for the first time and now people are keeping things turning over,” said Shelby.

Ryan and Aidan designed the box to go with the 1910 house the family is restoring and set it up with a bench on the corner of their lot near Lakeview Park.

“I like reading lots of things, fantasy, spy stuff, dragons, adventure, magic. It’s great,” said Aidan.

He and sister, Senna, are both Beairsto school students. She is learning to read English this summer and finding some good books in the Little Free Library box.

“It’s been pretty busy. People stop by when they’re going to the park, or walking dogs or pushing strollers. They tell us they really like the idea,” said Ryan.

Shelby added, “Our family is having fun doing this for the community and we hope people will drop by and check it out.”

People who like books and something good to drink, can find the Triumph Coffee Little Free Library in the community meeting room of the shop. Steward Kyla Henry, an education student at UBC Okanagan, found the idea online and approached Triumph Coffee owners Andrew McWilliam and Robin Hewitt with the idea as they were preparing to open in mid-May. They didn’t hesitate to let her set up the library.

“It’s a really nice community helping thing. We have a cross-section of books and a cross section of people coming in. Some tree planters picked out some books to take to work with them. Summer is a great time for reading,” said McWilliam, whose three children, Jack, Lucy and Emily, are enjoying trading their books at the Little Free Library.

Henry is pleased to see children and adults have more opportunity to read.

“For me, it’s mostly about reading. I’m an avid reader and I like to see the community coming together this way. This is easy to do and I’d encourage others to think about it. There are few Little Free Libraries in the province,” she said. “I like to exchange books, too. I’m taking one today because I’m going camping and need some reading material.”

Triumph Coffee is also a drop-off point for Spanish-English and English-Spanish dictionaries to be given to migrant farm workers. Dictionaries should be dropped off there or at Wild Oak Cafe in Armstrong by July 31. For more information see RAMAOkanagan.org.

To start a Little Free Library, see littlefreelibrary.org.

 

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