ST. MARY’S – Though their stories have just begun, the new Seeds of Literacy program and its Little Free Libraries are already causing a buzz among bibliophiles in St. Mary’s, according to Director of Community Development and Recreation Kerri Jack.
“We’ve had a donation of a bunch of used books made to the municipality from someone who rescues books from shops that can’t get rid of them [and other] libraries that don’t want them anymore,” she told the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s committee of the whole meeting on Sept.7, the day before the mobile book-lending and reading service’s official launch date.
“We’ll have lots of books to put in our Little Free Libraries without having to ask the community for many donations.”
The ‘libraries’ are, essentially, public boxes that typically contain anywhere from 30 to 50 books donated by members of the community.
Said Jack: “They sit outside a community space where people can leave a book or take one; they’re available at all times for people to use … What I’m really excited about is how the Little Free Libraries will grow the accessibility piece of the Seeds of Literacy program in each community.”
Last month, the literacy project received an $8,500 Recreation Community Development grant from the provincial government to help cover its costs, including up to six Little Free Libraries across the district.
Said Jack: “Even if there isn’t a Seeds of Literacy [mobile book -ending and reading service] happening in that community that day, people there can still grab some books and enjoy them with their families.”
Jack noted that while many of the newly donated books are targeted at young readers, the collection should diversify over time.
“Seeds of Literacy was developed for youth in mind,” she said. “So many of the books that we have now [are for] three-year-olds, up to best sellers for teenagers. I’m hoping, as we move forward, we can really build on that catalog and it doesn’t have to be just for youth. It can just be a literacy accessibility program that just makes books available to anybody who might need them, and who [faces] has barriers to getting [them] … It really sounds like the project is being supported.”
The Seeds of Literacy program – conceived partly in response to an ongoing dispute with Eastern Counties Regional Libraries over rising costs and reduced hours at the Sherbrooke branch – was launched on International Literacy Day (Sept. 8).
Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal