Two years ago, former Oliver resident Annalise Klingbeil was enamoured by street-side newspaper boxes filled with free books cropping up in her hometown of Calgary, and she sought to bring the global movement to Oliver under the name Oliver Little Free Libraries.
With the help of the OCL, Klingbeil wrangled 10 boxes, got local artists or community members to give them eye-catching makeovers, filled them with donated books and watched it take off—beyond Oliver.
Ritchie resident Debbie Forsyth was inspired by the Oliver movement and has since channelled her lifelong love of reading into setting up eight boxes in her south-side neighbourhood.
Likewise, St. Albert’s self-diagnosed “community-development book junkie,” Angie Dedrick sourced 12 news-boxes from the Edmonton Sun in spring 2014 to spread across the suburb. Says Dedrick, “The Little Libraries wake us up to community and remind us of our desire for connection, and maybe even give us permission to open up to it.”
Klingbeil, who’s since returned to Calgary, says, “At its core, the project is a chance for Oliver’s residents to get to know each other and build community.” (Find a library near you.)
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Klingbeil introduced the concept to Edmonton. That’s incorrect; Strathearn launched a bilingual little library in 2012.