Humboldt's Little Free Library
by Kimberley Hintz
Is it a birdhouse?
No, it's bigger than a birdhouse and those aren't birds in there - they are books!
Books have been flying out of Susan Bellamy's Little Free Library in Humboldt, SK for a couple of years now.
"I retired in June of 2012 after 37 years in the school library. My husband thought I'd miss it, so he and our neighbor built this as a retirement gift for me," Bellamy said.
It's the only officially registered "little free library" in Saskatchewan, and Bellamy, as the steward of library #2183, is proud to be part of something that promotes literacy and a love of reading while fostering a feeling of community."The simple ideas are often the best ideas," says Bellamy.
A little free library is a small box with a roof and a hinged door, usually elevated and situated in a publically accessible spot. Decorated to a theme or not, the concept is the same. It is filled with free books. Take a book that intrigues you, and leave a book for others to enjoy.
The "take a book, leave a book" concept has brightened the day for family, friends, and strangers in Bellamy's neighborhood. She restocks the library regularly and although originally planning to focus on adult fiction, she has "seeded" it for some special patrons too.
"I noticed some boys, 10 or 11 years old, looking in one day and now I make sure to have something in there for them. They keep coming back," Bellamy said.
There is always something interesting and new happening in her front yard. At Christmas, she was pleasantly surprised to receive a few anonymous cards and once, a neighbor brought back a book from a little free library she discovered while on vacation in the United States. She has even added a wrought iron bench to her front yard to entice more readers to stop by.
"I would encourage others to get involved," she said. "It's a very rewarding experience."
This idea is becoming an international phenomenon. To learn more, please visit http://littlefreelibrary.org/.