June 7, 2016
By Brent Cooper
MUSKOKA - A community organization is trying to makes Muskoka a better place to read, one book at a time.
The Rotary Club of Bracebridge-Muskoka Lakes is starting a Little Free Library program, where books would be placed inside an outdoor wooden structure on or near someone’s property.
The books, which would be donated by area libraries or individuals, would be free to take and could be kept or returned to the library by the user, according to Kim Rixon, the president of the Rotary Club of Bracebridge-Muskoka Lakes.
“They are kind of popping up all over the place,” said Rixon. “There is one at Annie Williams Park (in Bracebridge) and there is one in Gravenhurst that I know of, and I know there are a few in some different communities.”
The idea for the club to start its own program came from Rotarian Shelly Duben, who Rixon said asked the membership if it was willing to participate.
The members agreed, and Rixon said the club was initially prepared to build the Little Free Libraries. However, students at Bracebridge-Muskoka Lakes Secondary School have come on board to take over the construction of the containers, with the wood shop class constructing the libraries from scrap wood and the arts students decorating the finished product.
The books in the Little Free Libraries would be mostly focused on teens and young children, and the club is now talking with area libraries about stocking the outdoor libraries while at the same time trying to find people to have them on or near their properties. There is also a need for people to act as caretakers of the libraries, Rixon said.
“We need people to act as monitors, to make sure the content in there is appropriate, and make sure there is nothing inside that is damaged or inappropriate,” she said. “Right now, we are looking for people to have them in their community or neighbourhood who might also be willing to look after them.”
The club has already received a request for one such outdoor Little Free Library in the Dorset area, Rixon said, adding some area libraries have agreed to donate some books to their program.
For more information, or if there is anyone wishing to take on a Little Free Library, contact Rixon at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 705-641-8732.