Amanda Faulkner and her daughter Maëlle. Photo by Christine Vezarov.
Make a left turn from Hartsmere Dr. onto Friendly Crescent and you’ll see the bright yellow picnic table and turquoise mailbox with painted butterflies that are visited by members of the community every day.
A few weeks ago, Amanda Faulkner and her family filled their take-a-book-leave-a-book exchange with over a dozen books in front of their home on 9 Friendly Crescent.
“You can gear towards any demographic, but ours are for kids because there’s lots of kids on our street,” she said. “So we just filled it with books that (my daughter) wanted to share. And then our neighbours come and take a book and they get their books to drop off as well.”
These little libraries have been popping up around the world, and can be registered online at the Little Free Library website. Faulkner got the idea from a few friends who were doing their own book exchange a couple of years ago.
“I love it. Reading is so fun, so to see kids excited about picking out new books is nice. (My husband) and I were talking this morning, and if this is a way to encourage kids to read, especially in the summer with no school and things, then that’s a good thing.”
Open the lid: Disney books, Curious George, Dr. Seuss and even the whole Harry Potter series are just a few of the titles that have rotated through the library.
“It’s always a little surprise when you open it up, and I get excited to check to see if there’s new books in there or ones that have been taken because that means that people are using it.” Faulkner said.
People in the neighbourhood drop by the little library all day, from morning to evening.
“I’ve seen kids and parents with their bicycles stop by together. Again, either dropping books off or borrowing some books,” Faulkner said, “It’s just something that we thought would be really fun to engage with our neighbourhood and to get kids excited about books.”
Faulkner’s five-year old daughter, Maëlle, checks the little library every day to see if new books have been borrowed.
Since last year, Maëlle said she has met new kids from her street. When asked how she felt about children and families using the library, she said:
“Happy. I like people going to my little library. We talk about what books they got.”
“She loves reading, so reading is very important to us,” her mother said. “This is a fun way to get kids engaged in reading and build that sense of community as well.”
Faulkner plans to keep the little library open until the snow falls later in the year.
“A lot of adults ask if we can do an adult free little library as well. So who knows— it might expand,” Faulkner said.
Maëlle has plans of her own for what next year’s little free library will look like.
“I want it to be coral. I’m going to put plant stickers and I’m going to put paint stickers of a paint brush,” she said.