In September 2013, Community Action for Early Childhood (CAEC) celebrated the opening of Bowness's first Little Free Library. Since then, these little book boxes have been popping up all over the neighbourhood thanks, in large part, to a partnership with Bowness High School.
Seeing the need to make books more readily accessible to community residents (especially young children) the CAEC sought out a partnership with Bowness High School, in the hopes that students might be interested in crafting Little Free Libraries that would be planted around the community, and stewarded by community residents. The school whole-heartedly embraced the idea which would not only allow for great learning and skill building for the students but would also be a tangible way to give back to the community by providing a lasting resource that would provide easier access to books in and around Bowness.
In 2015, the students in Brad Bagnall’s Construction class built nine new Little Free Libraries. The libraries were shown off with pride at the Annual Bowness Stampede Parade as part of the Coalition’s work to spread the word about the importance of reading to children everyday.
Buoyed by the enthusiastic response from community residents about the Little Free Library project, CAEC partnered with Bowness High again this year and received 5 wonderful Little Free Libraries – some even painted red and white to celebrate Canada’s centennial year. In addition, this year, the project was extended to include students at Thomas B. Riley School who crafted two of the five libraries. To date, Bowness has over 17 Little Free Libraries – including one of the original Bowness High Libraries which has now been mounted on a bicycle to create Bowness’s very own Book Bike. Any resident can sign out the bike and deliver children’s books to Little Free Libraries throughout the neighbourhood. There is even a map to help residents locate these wonderful treasures in the community. The project just keeps on growing!
This project has definitely created ripples in the community and we are so grateful to everyone who has come together to make it happen.
More Information: CAEC: Little Free Libraries in our Community