A literacy global phenomenon has landed in Sooke, and Cheri Sutherland couldn’t be happier.
It’s called the Little Free Library initiative, and it’s the work of a global non-profit organization that fosters neighbourhood book exchanges around the world.
Sutherland, an avid reader and a passionate supporter of literacy, became aware of the program and asked her husband, Les, to build the library structure and place it outside their 5705 Woodlands Rd. home.
“I love reading. I always have and when I talked to a client of mine in Colwood who had her own Little Library, I knew that I wanted to have one,” Sutherland said.
“I asked my husband to build one for my birthday, and now my gift is also a gift to the community and helps promote something I truly believe in. It’s perfect.”
Sutherland’s Little Free Library is a simple enclosed box with several shelves of books. The books range from adult fiction to children’s books and they’re available free of charge to anyone who wants to take one to read.
The idea is people who come to borrow a book might also have a book they’re willing to leave in the Little Free Library so it can be shared with the community.
“The motto of the organization is Bring a Book, Take a Book, but if you want to just take a book, that’s fine too. The idea is to promote reading,” Sutherland said.
The concept isn’t new to Sooke. A book bin at SEAPARC Leisure Complex has been in place for several years, and recently the Sooke Rotary Club began working on installing its own little libraries around town.
“We’ve been heavily involved with the book bin at SEAPARC and this fits right in with the Rotary goals of promoting world education,” Deb Johnston, Rotary youth chair, said.
Internationally, the Little Free Library concept has exploded.
“The concept has really struck a chord,” Margret Aldrich, Little Free Library spokesperson, said.
“It’s a way for neighbours to connect with others and share a love of reading. There might be someone who can’t afford a book who walks by a Little Free Library and opens the door to get a very special present.”
The Little Free Libraries can be ordered pre-made, constructed by following plans available through the organization’s website, or folks can use their imagination to build their own version.
“I have a passion for reading and it makes me sad when someone tells me that they don’t read. I hope that my little library might put a book into the hands of someone who discovers a new world between the covers of that book. That’s especially true if it’s a child,” Sutherland said.