Nestled at the main crossroads here is the brand new Everton library. However instead of being housed in a building where books must be signed out and returned in a specific amount of time Everton’s new library is located outside in it’s very own waterproof structure and runs on the philosophy of “take a book leave a book.”
“The idea started with Joy Roberts who is a neighbor and a friend and just a wonderful person that’s doing things for other people,” said library coordinator Susan Johnson. “She was aware that there were a lot of Little Free Libraries in other communities, particularly in Guelph and she thought it would be a wonderful idea for Everton.”
The Little Free Library movement started in 2009 in Wisconsin when Todd Bol decided to put up model of a one-room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother who was a teacher and he offered free books. The movement blossomed and now there are approximately 25,000 Little Free Libraries registered around the world, according to the movement’s website.
The Everton library is located in the centre of the town close to the intersection of Evert Street and Oliphant Street and has become a community hub, Johnson said.
“You see Everton doesn’t have a community centre like Eden Mills and it used to have a shop and a post office but that closed,” she explained. “So having something like this really became the centre of the community and it’s very near to the crossroads in Everton.”
On Aug. 3, the day of the library’s dedication, Johnson said there were about 45 people in attendance.
“We saw them coming down the road from one side and down the road from the other side and people came from some of the more rural parts outside Everton so word had just spread,” she said.
The library itself is a wooden structure designed by Don Bodlick of Guelph who has made a number for the area. He even added a ledge when a community member requested somewhere to place her coffee while she was looking through the books.
Even children were involved in the discussion at the dedication.
“One said ‘you know if you bring the same book back you should put a little note inside with a book review,’” Johnson said.
The library currently contains thrillers, children’s books, reference books and travel guides to name a few. However, due to the nature of the system the available books will constantly change as some are returned and some are taken. In terms of paperbacks, Johnson said the library could hold approximately 30 books, however, that number will increase or decrease depending on the size of the books. But she’s not concerned about a lack of material.
“We’ve spoken to one of the people who lives here (and) works in Erin and she has a used bookstore and she has books that don’t sell that are in very good condition and she said could she bring some and we said ‘absolutely’ and said could she rotate books and we said ‘absolutely.’” Johnson said.
And as for someone taking all the books and not returning them, Johnson’s not worried about that either.
“If it’s empty, you know if someone comes along and takes them all … I’m sure the next person who came along would sound the alarm and say ‘quick the library’s empty you’ve got to bring some books,’” she said. “I know that everybody (who) was there was in favour so if anything happens to it, it will get fixed because it’s that kind of community.”
Although the Everton library provides an alternative for the community that isn’t close to any county libraries other Little Free Libraries have popped up even in towns that do have a municipal library.
Based on the organization’s website map there are only two registered Little Free Libraries in Wellington County and both are located in Fergus. One is located on the west side of St. David Street north of Garafraxa Street and another is located on Elizabeth Crescent. There are also several located in Guelph.
For more information about the Little Free Libraries movement and to find additional locations visit http://littlefreelibrary.org/.