A movement that started in 2009 when Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading, and filled it with books has spread to Castlegar.
The idea blossomed into what is now known as Little Free Libraries. The idea is to build a miniature library, most of which look like oversized bird houses, mount it on a post in your local neighbourhood, and fill it with books that are then offered for free. The library perpetuates through the return of the borrowed books or through replacement by newly donated books.
Shelley Stetsko first heard the story of these free libraries on the radio and decided that it was just the thing her neighbourhood needed. She has decided to call hers a WEE Free Library. Stetsko explained her choice of a name, “Wee being small, W for welcome to the community, E for enjoy, enjoy the books, enjoy the area. The other E for engage, engage with your neighbours.”
Stetsko put hers up in the beginning of June in front of her home at 206 4th Ave. The experience has been encouraging. She has a guest book users can sign and the flow of books has been steady. As the old books disappear, new ones keep showing up. Users are under no obligation and can either take a book to keep, borrow a book or donate a book.
“I want people to be inspired,” said Stetsko. “I want it to be a thing that brings neighbourhoods together. Hopefully there will be more throughout Castlegar as the years go along.”
A second WEE Free Library will be installed soon at the Millennium Park.