The public library is, of course, an important resource to every city and community.
Private book exchange boxes add value by encouraging reading, making books more available and building community. Patrons may take a book and return it, keep and /or leave one in its place.
Over the past couple of years, I have found more book-houses popping up in Your Community.
There are now at least six, one or more in each neighbourhood.
In Exhibition: on Lorne Ave., and on Hilliard St. E.
In Queen Elizabeth: on Maple St., on Adelaide St. E. and on York Ave.
In West Haultain: on 4th St. E.
The “Librarians” are retirees, working folk, professionals, all of whom are interested in reading and encouraging others to read. They are all involved in the community.
Their motivation to erect book boxes is as varied as the books in them: For Rick, it was a winter woodworking project. Natasha’s was a gift from a friend, who built it from an old cupboard. She had appreciated the ones she had used while living in Kenya. Adrian was inspired by one he had seen that was created by an artist. Andrew made a few additions, to a Christmas gift from a family member, to reflect the couple’s interests. Another librarian received hers as a Mother’s Day gift from her children.
The rewards for their efforts are, primarily, seeing folks reading; having books being re-read and not thrown into a recycling bin. It’s interesting to watch the comings and goings, interact with their neighbours and make new friends. Interesting conversations have been started beside the library. Sometimes there are tangible rewards like treats left for the dog.
Most don’t monitor what others add to the library but some don’t include religious books or eroticism. When there are children’s books, they go quickly. It’s not always books that are left: CDs, puzzles, a Meccano set, crayons, crochet cotton – even plants have been left under a box.
The patrons of the libraries are of all ages: adults, children, young adults, all interests and come from all walks of life.
The neighbours have provided good support and use of the library. There has been little graffiti and comments have been complimentary.
If you search for “library boxes” online, you will find the “Little Free Library” organisation. Currently in Your Community, only the one on Hilliard St.is registered with the organisation.
Know your responsibilities and risks.
Provided that the library box does not include a permanent structure, there are no issues with erecting your library on City property, including the easement.
The City of Saskatoon and utility providers sometimes need access to public land, for example, to maintain underground utilities or build or repair sidewalks. This means that your library could be removed or damaged. The City and utility providers are not liable for damage to or removal of materials or structures on public land. The same guidelines apply as for Boulevard Gardens.