Okanagan Eco-Noggin  

Build a little free library

If you’re looking for ways to pass the time while we’re all isolating and distancing in our homes, here’s an idea that harnesses creativity, generosity and sustainability all at once: build a Little Free Library.

Little Free Libraries are small containers, usually miniature, ornate buildings, that are installed near curbs and sidewalks so that people can take and leave used books as they wish.

This helps solve the problem of book availability now that libraries are all indefinitely closed. Rather that buy a new book that will inevitably clutter your shelves, you can trade in old books and find something new to you.

This further reduces consumerism and waste that is otherwise necessary for people who are looking for things to read during this period of isolation.

There are a number of Little Free Libraries in most cities, and you can find them through an interactive map at https://littlefreelibrary.org/.https://littlefreelibrary.org/

This website also has instructions for building all sorts of novel constructions, from miniature Amish sheds to mini libraries with living roofs.

If wood working is not your thing, checking out a Little Free Library near you might be a nice excuse to get outside and tour your neighborhood.

Since they are all outdoors and far from busy areas, this can be done while respecting social distancing rules. Bring a few old books and trade them in for something new.

If you are worried about unnecessarily touching anything foreign these days, a simple procedure to prevent any virus spread would be to reach in with a bag over your hand, close the bag around the book, and leave it isolated for 24 hours. Viruses cannot survive long outside of a living host.

I recently toured 10 Little Free Libraries listed in Kelowna and West Kelowna, and found some doubly impressive libraries.

For example, the one on Woodstock Drive has been converted into a Free Little Pantry, and it’s full of food for anybody in need to come and take for the duration of this pandemic.

Nearby, on Saddleback Drive, there’s one built from used cabinetry – taking sustainability to the next level. There’s also one on Markham Court that will soon double as a geo-cache location.

I spoke with a few of the homeowners who happened to be out their yards, and they all told similar stories. Since installing these a few years ago, they see a lot of people coming both on foot and by car, usually happy to leave as many or more books as they take.

All of them had nothing but positive things to say about hosting these Little Free Libraries.

I tip my hat to these inspirational beacons of sustainability, generosity and creativity.


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About the Author

Jerry Vandenberg is an environmental scientist and owner of Vandenberg Water Science. He lives in the Okanagan region where he is also a paid-on-call fire fighter.

He can be reached at (250) 491-7260; [email protected]; https://www.linkedin.com/in/jerry-vandenberg/

Website: www.vws.ltd


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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