The Little Free Library movement has reached the northern shores of the province.
From a distance the tiny wooden structure, set inside a large planter tucked behind the courthouse, looks like a birdhouse.
Book collector Ed McCarter, picked up the idea from the The Little Free Library Book by Margret Aldrich but he put his own spin on the “take a book return a book” concept.
“The idea is that people may see it but then they might think that if they don’t have a book they won’t take one. We just want people to take them,” McCarter said.
The little library was raised and ready for the community two weeks ago.
“It’s been lovely to see the people on the cruise ships and people in town just coming down and putting the books in and taking them,” he said.
The Little Free Library movement began in 2010 and has since expanded to more than 50,000 registered little libraries in 70 countries. There are even more unregistered little libraries, including McCarter’s, that continue to pop up around the globe, although the movement’s nonprofit organization encourages stewards to register and added to the online map.
Little Free Libraries in the north of B.C. are few and far between, but there are many in the Lower Mainland. The map shows two registered little libraries in Prince George, one in Quesnel and one in 150 Mile House.
“Books are a great way to learn things and pass information along,” McCarter said, adding he’s not trying to compete with the public library, rather he saw this as another opportunity to engage the community in reading.
A friend built the structure, and his wife, Rosemary, painted the books and designs on the miniature walls.
When asked how many books he owns he laughed. He has two libraries at home stacked with thousands of books.
“I enjoy reading and I enjoy passing them on,” he said.
Inside the little library is an eclectic mix of books, Life of Pi, The Da Vinci Code and Killers Of The King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I.
Rosemary said when her husband travels he wears a book vest, which looks similar to a fishing vest and allows the bibliophile to pocket eight to 10 books when he flies. Weighed down by books, he packs them back in his luggage as soon as he gets a chance.
The couple encourages residents and tourists to help lighten their load of books, just as the inscription on their Little Free Library states: “Feel free to take a book, or leave a book.”