New library concept receiving kudos

By Rosalind Russell-

A new Little Free Library located out of the Lee Valley Community is getting plenty of use.

Nancy Horan says an old china cabinet was repurposed by her sister, Judy Moody of Espanola, with free books being made available to the public.

She says bookworms can also donate books, so the world of reading is available to anyone travelling through the area.

In fact, she adds, the first users were travellers from Vancouver heading to the East Coast.

Horan adds there is also an app available so readers can find the little library locations on their travels.

She says the library will remain open until Thanksgiving and reopen in early May.  

The library is located on the Lee Valley Road at the Cutler Lake/Hunt Road intersection between Espanola and Massey.
The library is in the process of being registered globally and readers will be able to find it shortly on the Little Library map App.
There is also a guest book for people to sign when they visit the library with some history on how it was constructed.

You can read more about little free libraries at

Horan also shared a bit of the history behind the concept. In 2009, Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one room schoolhouse. It was a tribute to his mother; she was a teacher who loved to read. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard. His neighbors and friends loved it, so he built several more and gave them away. They were inspired by community gift-sharing networks, “take a book, leave a book” collections in coffee shops and public spaces, and most especially by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

Around the turn of the 20th century, Carnegie set a goal to fund the creation of 2,508 free public libraries across the English-speaking world.

That goal inspired Brooks and Bol to set their own goal of surpassing 2,508 Little Free Libraries by the end 2013. They wound up exceeding that goal in August of 2012, a year and a half before their target date. By 2010, the name Little Free Library was established, and the purpose of these Little Free Library book exchanges became clear: to share good books and bring communities together. The year 2011 brought national media attention, and by the end of the year there were nearly 400 Little Free Libraries in existence. That number would skyrocket to over 4,000 Libraries by the end of 2012, the same year in which Little Free Library became a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

By 2016 more than 50,000 Little Free Libraries had been installed in all 50 U.S. states and 70 countries. Little Free Libraries have continued to grow by leaps and bounds every year. In 2022 we surpassed 150,000 registered Libraries in more than 115 countries worldwide.

Photos: An old china cabinet has been repurposed to create the Lee Valley Little Free Library, including some good luck fairies to add that special touch. People can pick up or drop off books sharing the love of reading to the wider public. Photos provided by Nancy Horan and used with permissions. 

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