Keith Burgoyne loves writing and books, and he's been sharing his love of reading with others through the pandemic with a mini-library he set up outside his home.
And so far, the tiny library has had more than 1,000 visits.
"It feels wonderful, absolutely wonderful," Burgoyne told CBC Radio: Mainstreet P.E.I. host Matt Rainnie. "I'm a huge, huge book lover and much to my partner's chagrin I have hundreds of books, so I'm constantly reading and promoting reading for fun."
"Just being able to share the joy of reading with people, it feels really great."
Burgoyne won the mini-library in a contest several years ago but hadn't used it until last year. When the pandemic hit, he decided the time was right to put it up at the end of his driveway in Charlottetown.
"So folks in the local community can just trade books with one another, without actually having to be face-to-face with one another," he explained.
Burgoyne's dog barks when he sees visitors to the mini-library, prompting Burgoyne to look out the window of his home office.
"I've actually started to notice the same car comes by once a week, or the same person walking their dog comes by and they're switching out books — so there are people who are repeat users of the library," he said.
I'd love to see it get to 10,000. — Keith Burgoyne
He added lights to the interior — and a door counter, that would record each time someone opened the little library, presumably to borrow a book. Last week, the counter indicated 1,000 visits.
"There's a little sensor that comes down to the door, and there's a magnet on the door, and when you open the door and then close it again, the magnet touches the sensor and it increments a number," he said.
The counter has not been without a few hiccups, however: the door was once left open and the wind blew the door around, causing it to count to "some astronomical thing," Burgoyne said, so he had to reset it.
Keep 'em coming
Some users return the books once they are done with them, he said, while others simply drop off or only borrow books.
"Some people are dropping off brand new, high-quality hardcover books, and then there are those who bring you know, the Weight Watchers calorie guide from 1995, so those ones I tend to remove," Burgoyne said.
He himself enjoys reading books people drop off, and donates from his own collection too.
How long will he keep up his "job" as a community librarian?
"I just want to see how long we can ride this," Burgoyne said. "Every day half a dozen people stop by — I've actually not been able to drive out of my driveway because there's somebody parked there going through the books."
"If it can last, I'd love to see it get to 10,000. That would be just a wonderful marker, in my mind."
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