Page turners on neighbourhood corners

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PENHOLD – The town’s new little free libraries are open for business.

Stationed at Memorial Hall and the Seniors Drop In Centre, two brightly coloured boxes filled with books have been put into operation.

There’s no need to have a library card or to check out these books. You can just grab one and take it home – or leave one of your own for someone else to enjoy.

The project is an initiative of Penhold’s Family and Community Support Services’ (FCSS) office.

“The hope is it becomes a little library of the community,” said FCSS coordinator Teresa Ainscough. She said in an email that it also is about showing that small acts matter. The message the project is trying to spread is take ‘it, read it, share it.’

While Penhold of course already has a formal library, the goal with the little free libraries is to help establish a community feel, letting adults and children trot down the block in their own neighbourhood to grab a book.

“It’s just about more of a feeling of a community that you can just go and grab a book,” Ainscough said.

The libraries were built by Nash and McCoy and painted by Lauren Cowles. The Little Free Library movement has been underway internationally for years, with a not-for-profit organization promoting the neighbourhood efforts to help increase book access and create community connections.

Memorial Hall was picked because there’s a playgroup and other organizations that deal with children that go there, Ainscough said.

The libraries have been sized so that children five and up should easily be able to access the books on their own.

The selection isn’t just for kids, though – novels and non-fiction aimed at older audiences is also available.

“We had a little bit of a stockpile to start us off,” Ainscough said. It’s hoped community members will leave their own books in the library in addition to snagging good reads from the boxes.

Teresa Ainscough, FCSS coordinator

“The hope is it becomes a little library of the community. It’s just about more of a feeling of a community that you can just go and grab a book.”

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About Author

Victoria Paterson is a Calgary-based freelance writer.