Agassiz could be home to two little libraries as early as next spring, thanks to efforts from the Friends of the Library society, AESS and the Agassiz Library itself.
“The Friends of the Library, one of their mandates is to encourage literacy and use of books,” Elinor Bell, a Friends of the Library member, said. “So I thought this would be a good thing to have.”
Bell came up with the idea of having a library kiosk in the townsite after seeing similar projects in communities around the Lower Mainland, including Harrison Hot Springs.
These small libraries are freestanding, outdoor bookshelves that ask people to take a book and leave a book as they are passing by. Libraries can be registered with the Little Free Library organization, which started in 2009 and now has more than 80,000 libraries registered around the world.
Bell’s idea was to create two library kiosks and have them installed in Agassiz’s Pioneer Park and Schep Park.
The kiosks themselves will be built by students in John Pinto’s woodworking class using cedar and Plexiglass, and painted by students in Tammy Fox’s art class with the phrase “take a book, leave a book.” By the spring, Bell is hoping both kiosks will be ready and able to be installed by District of Kent staff.
Of course, it takes more than a kiosk to create a library.
Bell said the initial books for the project are being donated by the Agassiz Library, and that the Friends of the Library will monitor the library’s stock once it’s open to make sure there are enough books on the shelves. (Anyone wanting to donate books or participate in the little library project can reach out to Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org)
“The lady that I talked in Harrison that has got one, said they had so many books donated that they had to build a bookshelf in their garage for all of them,” Bell said. “They said it was really popular.”
She’s hoping a similar reaction to the project will take place in Agassiz, and that more people will be inspired by the love of reading.
“The more we can get people, and especially kids, reading and away from screen time, that it’s an important thing,” she said.
“If parents take their kids to the park, and they’re sitting watching their kids play, they can grab a book for themselves and maybe grab a book for the kids at the same time,” she continued. “It will be good.”