St. Davids is about to join more than 100,000 communities around the world with its first Free Little Library, designed to help promote a love of reading.
At a recent event for members, the Friends of St. Davids unveiled the first such library for the village, to be installed soon in Sparky’s Park, on the corner of Tanbark Road and Warner Road, in the shade shelter.
Lili Revas-Kvederys, a member of the FOSD, came up with the idea, and will be the steward of the library for the first year.
Leslie Mann, another member of the group, came on board with the idea and built the first library to look like a historic home in St. Davids.
Revas-Kvederys says she has seen them around the world, and been “mesmerized” by the concept of how they work and what they bring to a community.
A lover of books herself, living in a village with a growing population of young families, she says she thought it would be a great idea to provide the first
Free Little Library, and see if there is an interest in using it.
As steward, Revas-Kvederys will be tasked with keeping the two shelves of the little library stocked with appropriate books, to be borrowed by passersby.
The goal is to promote literacy and the love of reading, while building a sense of community, with a “take a book, return a book” policy, that offers an opportunity for neighbours to share their favourites. Revas-Kvederys will keep her eye on what is most popular, with a mix of selections for all adults and children.
There will be no shortage of books to stock its little shelves, she says. Her daughter, a teacher, has already donated about 100 books, and others have also given her books. She will watch the selection, checking it about once a week to make sure it’s kept filled.
Equipped with solar lighting, and close to the St. Davids Firehall, the library is in a safe place, she says, as well as one that will be seen by passersby, and by families using the park.
“It’s a location that will be seen by people when they’re out for a walk, and by children when they’re playing.”
There are more than 42 million books in little libraries around the world, in more than 100 countries, says Revas-Kvederys.
This Free Little Library is registered and official, part of a movement which began in 2009 by a man in Wisconsin, who built a model of a one-room schoolhouse, filled it with books and put it out in his front yard. He did it as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading. When he discovered how popular it was, he kept building them and giving them away, to be stocked with free books.
He eventually formed a not-for profit company that offers library kits with several different designs, a sign, a registration process so the library can be included on a Google map that locates them world-wide, and all the information anyone could need to successfully operate it.
The Friends of St. Davids, says Revas-Kvederys, is a social group, but one that wants to give back to the community.
Because this particular little library will be on town-owned property, she says, she needed permission from the town, and it will be there as a year-long pilot project.
If it’s something the community seems to want and use, “we’ll look at whether we should go forward with more, and we encourage residents, if they feel there’s a need, to put one out at their homes.”
She envisions, now that it seems safe to meet, having reading events and maybe another book club, in partnership with the library, but this is a start, a “baby step” for St. Davids, she says.
“We’re excited about all we can do through the Friends of St. Davids. It’s a way for us to give back to the community.”