Little free library pops up in Surrey park

SURREY — Hot off the heels of the global Little Free Library movement, Surrey Libraries has found a place to nest a little free library of their own.

At Surrey’s Boundary Park (6058 Boundary Drive West) last Saturday (Nov. 1), community members and library employees unveiled their own little free library – a painted, wooden box a little larger than a birdhouse – for residents to give and take from as they please.

Though the Surrey Libraries helped kickstart the initiative, a local community group will be taking care of the space.

“The Village Surrey Transition Initiative, they’re the ones who spearheaded this particular Little Free Library,” said Surinder Bhogal, deputy chief librarian at Surrey Libraries.

“We want the community to take ownership so it’s really important to have people come forward to look after it,” she said.

The Little Free Library movement is meant to positively impact a community, and after a recent study done by the Vancouver Foundation that revealed many people in Metro Vancouver feel “disconnected” from their community, SFU library organized its own Little Free Library. Surrey Libraries quickly followed suit.

“We worked so closely with our local community groups to create something like this,” Bhogal told the Now. “Although people have been living here for years, people feel very unconnected from their community… they just go to work and come home and they might not even know their neighbours so SFU had organized this in response to that and thought about what public libraries can do to help that.”

With funding help from the Vancouver Foundation, Surrey Libraries purchased six Little Free Library boxes and invited some community groups to take on the initiative.

“We invited all these community members to come in, we described the project to them and we gave them a little bit of seed funding.  We said, ‘Here you go, see what you can do with this.’ So six little groups went off and had their own building parties,” Bhogal said.

The event on Saturday (Nov. 1) was the culmination of almost a year and a half’s work, according to the deputy chief librarian.

“We thought how about spreading the love of reading, but for people who can’t come into libraries, maybe helping them put a mini-library (in their community),” Bhogal said.

“Once the library was there, neighbours were already starting to talk to one another.”

Surrey Libraries kicked off the Boundary Park little library by donating a few books and collecting duplicate copies of library books for the inaugural stack.

Bhogal noted there are already two existing Little Free Libraries in South Surrey, both of which are unrelated to Surrey Libraries. Another one will soon be popping up at North Surrey’s Bridgeview Park and others will serve less public areas such as the food bank.

“The books are free, you don’t need a library card. It’s just kind of like a community book shelf,” she said.

Twitter: @kristialexandra

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