Little libraries popping up in Peace River yards

Joan Blench had a Little Free Library built by Peace River Correctional Centre for her front yard. Photo courtesy of Joan Blench.

Susan Thompson
South Peace News

A Peace River resident has turned a fallen tree into an opportunity to share the love of reading.

“Over the summer, a severe wind knocked down a beautiful Manitoba Maple in my front yard and rather than have it removed completely, I decided to keep a stump for the base of a Little Free Library,” Joan Blench says.

The inmates at the Peace River Correctional Centre built the wood structure for the library as a public donation. Blench says she is grateful to Neil Frank and his skilled team in the woodworking shop for taking on the project.

Blench posted about the new Little Free Library on Facebook to encourage local residents to stop by. The new library is in her front yard just north of the ball diamonds on River Road [94th Street].

According to the Little Free Library website, the non-profit organization is the world’s largest book-sharing movement, meant to build community, spark creativity, and inspire readers through the exchange of millions of books.

Each Little Free Library is a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange. Since people are often sharing their favourite books with their community, little libraries have been called “mini-town squares.”

Blench has applied for a charter number and once that comes in she can officially get a photograph of her location on the Little Free Library website and be included in the searchable map of charter members.

Blench’s Little Free Library is the second in Peace River. Another smaller library is located near the swimming pool, at Dana Laliberte’s home. She says it has been there for about two months now.

“It has been a huge hit!” Laliberte says.

“The kids walking to and from the schools always stop and people pull up to stop and get books. People have been dropping off books for me – no charge- just because they think it is such a great idea.”

Laliberte’s library was sided by her husband, Roger, to match her house, complete with a red door.

“It is so popular, we are going to add another one in lower for younger children,” she says.

There are also official member Little Free Libraries listed in Donnelly, Grande Prairie, and Slave Lake.

According to the website, per CDC guidelines there is little concern about COVID-19 being transmitted by paper surfaces, and as long as hard, nonporous surfaces that are touched by users such as the library door handle are cleaned frequently, the books are safe to read. So, no worries!

Of course, reading a new book is also an excellent activity to enjoy at home.

Dana Laliberte erected the first Little Free Library in Peace River about two months ago. Photo courtesy of Dana Laliberte.

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