Cozying up with a book, a blanket, a tea — and these days a sleeping baby — is seasonally one of my favourite pastimes. Especially during winter, as we tend to retreat indoors. As the crisp temperatures and blustery snowfalls draw us inside, neighbours become less and less visible and community-minded. So, call me a contrarian, but it seems like winter is the best season in which to launch our Little Free Library — when our sense of neighbourliness is at a seasonal low.
We live on what our neighbourhood calls an island – a sleepy crescent surrounded by a natural river and a canal — connected to the rest of the neighbourhood by a single-lane bridge. Houses are situated side by side as in any neighbourhood, but here there exists a distinct sense of living rurally and “out of town.” Streetlights are rare but never do we feel unsafe in the dark. Rather the darkness on our streets makes way for a clear view of the stars — or the fireworks that are officially lit each year at the annual end of summer BBQ as well as those spontaneous private firework shows. There are many events put on by the homeowner’s association including pumpkin carving, Christmas lights in the park, and — particular to our crescent — carolling tractor rides. Despite all of these offerings, our tight-knit community has yet to share a Little Free Library. That was until Joel built me one as a gift for Christmas.
Little Free Libraries are little boxes, usually bigger than a mailbox, set on posts at the end of a driveway or frequently travelled area. Stewards care for these libraries and initially stock them with a collection of books, but these libraries are meant to be shared and celebrated with those who live, work, and play around them. The movement of these libraries started in Wisconsin in 2009 (you can read more about the history of the organization here). The aim of the LFL movement is to spread literacy as well as community-mindedness.
Being a part of this movement is meaningful to our family for both of the reasons shared by the non-profit organization. We value literacy. As our family grows, we look forward to introducing Finn, his future siblings and his cousins to the enchanting world of books. Plus, we love our neighbourhood. Driving through its streets just feels like home. Even though we’ve only just moved here recently, already we’re finding so many benefits to raising our children in our neighbourhood. We wish to establish deep connections with our neighbourhood and those we share it with. Asking my friends and family members what they’re reading now is one of my favourite ways to connect. We look forward to connecting with neighbours over books as well.
Becoming a steward of my own Little Free Library has been a long time wish of mine, and I’m so grateful for a partner who understood me enough to know this and who took the time to carefully and thoughtfully craft a library for me to enjoy.
Be sure to check out the pictures of us setting up our library and passing out the newsletter announcing its arrival to our neighbours.