Little Libraries of K-W gaining popularity

Many free libraries have been springing up on residents’ lawns in the Kitchener-Waterloo area


Photo by Jessika Dik
Photo by Jessika Dik

Little Libraries of Kitchener-Waterloo, a not-for-profit organization that enables homeowners to build their own libraries, is expanding its presence in the Region of Waterloo.

“It’s the idea that you build a little library, you put it on a lawn and you fill it up with books that you’re willing to let people read,” explained Kelly Kipfer, manager of community engagement and children’s services at the Waterloo Public Library. “There’s no formal process of checking materials out.”

The program sells kits, which cost $50 to homeowners, and they then assemble and keep on their property for neighbours to access.

People walking by are able to pick up and return books as they please.

“The idea is more so that people can put books that they’re done with,” Kipfer continued.

“When people put their books out there, there’s no expectation that it comes back. People put new books, they might take one from you and put three more in.”

Accordingly, there’s no concern about possible thefts that might occur.

Though there are not very many registered in the Little Free Library registry, there are many popping up around the Kitchener-Waterloo area, including one on Peppler Street around the Erb Street intersection in Waterloo.

Tom Nagy, who created Little Libraries of K-W, said he doesn’t have any formal objective for the number of little libraries the organization hopes to strive for.

“It’s just a fun volunteer project and the numbers keep going up,” Nagy said.

“More and more people get enticed by seeing them.”

The goal of Little Libraries of K-W is to share the strong literary experiences that owners of books have with other people by putting their books out there for other people to read.

Since it is a community project, homeowners get to select which books they end up putting in their libraries.

It’s also meant to spark conversations around books, since borrowers will be visiting their neighbours’ properties.

Additionally, Little Libraries of K-W aims to create an environment where people can step on each other’s property, in a way that’s “safe and controlled for everybody.”

“It breaks down the wall that builds in your mind about what is property and what our society quantifies as property,” said Nagy.

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