I recently installed a little library in front of my house and have been pleasantly surprised at the attention it is receiving. It is the first and only Library installation West of Erbsville Road in Waterloo in suburbia. That’s right, I live in the burbs, in fact I am about as far to the West border of Waterloo and Wilmot as you can get. In the burbs, there aren’t a lot of cars sitting in driveways as every house has a garage attached. A car drives up the door opens, the car pulls in and the door is closed before the car is in all the way. You can imagine the lack of community as a result.
I have to admit, I was leery about installing a library here, who would use it? How will it be received? To my delight and to the credit of some pretty awesome people that also live in suburbia, it is a welcome addition to the neighbourhood.
Everyday, I see a new exchange of books and have had the opportunity to connect with people who live on the street, a block or two over, the next subdivision over and the best by far was the couple that found our registry online and drove over from Paris, Ontario. They even left this neat little card to promote their own Little Library, took a few pictures posing in front of mine and off they went. It made me realize that the Little Library is far more reaching than simply one’s front yard.
One day I met a woman who told me I made her day by installing the Library. She lives in another subdivision and told me in the eight years that she has lived there, she has no connection to her neighbours. She thanked me for installing the library and told me that initiatives like this create connection. She continues to walk by our home and this past weekend we observed her and her friend making use of and connecting over books in front of our library.
One observation I have made that I would like to clarify for my Little Library, is that you don’t need to leave a book if you don’t have one. I often see people at the library who will tell me that they want one but don’t have one to put back in. We cycle through our books every week to ensure that the library is always fresh. We prefer to see empty spots so we can add more, so by all means take a book, leave a book (if you want), but most important, read a book.