Books to the people

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If you’ve noticed some brightly decorated mailboxes filled with free “give or take” books popping up around Halifax, you can thank FYI Halifax. They are a group of Dalhousie students in the Masters of Library and Information Studies program who decided to create some Little Free Libraries (LFLs) as a way to promote literacy and provide public access to information.
“We struck on this idea of ‘information activism,’” says Alieda Blandford of FYI Halifax. “We wanted to be librarians because we wanted to be a force of positive change in our communities.”
Blandford explains that the project goes beyond a book swap.
“The value that the little libraries bring to the community is magical in its own right,” she says. “It’s a little art project, as well as a book exchange, and it’s an opportunity to meet your neighbours [and] to make sustained connections with the people who live in your area.”
The Halifax Tool Library (a free tool-lending program) and community members have worked with FYI Halifax to build the LFLs. Neighbourhood children painted the one on Gottingen Street by The Carrot; and local artist Paul Hammond painted the one on Agricola Street by the Open Mic House.
Blandford says she’s heard from many enthusiastic people around the HRM who have set up their own community LFLs.
“They are a beautiful execution of a simple idea: let’s share books with each other and get to know each other,” Blandford says. “The Little Free Library radiates goodwill, because you know that people are giving the books away to absolutely anyone who might enjoy them, without expectations.”
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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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