The Lethbridge Little Library program is a book exchange that is made up of small self-serve stations where kids and grown-ups can take or leave a book.
Sarah Head, manager of branch services for the Lethbridge Public Library (LPL), runs the program and was at a recent Gyro Park ribbon-cutting to celebrate the opening of their newest Little Library. She’s been partnering with the City since 2016 on the project.
“We also partner with Ability Resource Centre, and they come out with some of their workers. They check on the libraries to see if they’re in good repair or need to be stocked. We stock them using discarded books from the library. It’s a good relationship between the people in the community, ourselves, and the people with the Parks,” Head said.
Ali Walker is a resident of the south side Victoria Park neighbourhood, and she brought her community initiative to the project.
“We moved to this neighbourhood a couple of years ago, and there’s a lot of kids that use this park, and since it’s a common gathering place for a lot of young families, we thought it would be nice to have a place to exchange kids’ library books. There’s also a lot of people that walk in the park, and walk their dogs, so we thought it would be nice if adults could also exchange books.”
“I’m part of the Area Redevelopment Plan committee, so I’m interested in community issues and finding ways to help people feel a bit more centered in their community,” she added.
Two boxes, one for adults and one for kids were posted into the ground by City staff.
“The adult box was made by a high school student in Vauxhall,” Walker said. “My brother, Hans Bowden, is a shop teacher out there. He and I designed the kid’s box, and the plan is to have some of the kids use the same pattern and build them in shop class to contribute to their community.”
Jenna Bailey, another local resident, was there for the ceremony, and said, “She invited the local kids who play at this park to paint it, and to paint the decorations for it, and to install them so they could be a part of it.”
Walker said, “So, we had a painting party for six-year-olds, which I would never recommend.” Nevertheless, the little wooden animal cut-outs were painted nicely, and then nailed to the book box, which added a nice touch of colour. “It was a little touch-and-go sometimes, as to the chaos and destruction factor at my house. It was really fun though.”
“All these kids met at this park; this has been their play park since they were all kids. They all became friends through meeting at this park. So, now they’re contributing to their park,” said Bailey.
Cal Braid, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Lethbridge Herald