Anita “Mrs.” Taylor stands in front of her “Free Little Library” at 10500 Granby Rd. Sunday, Nov. 22. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Anita “Mrs.” Taylor stands in front of her “Free Little Library” at 10500 Granby Rd. Sunday, Nov. 22. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Boundary teacher uses grant, community donations to open communal library

Anita Taylor said she hoped her “free little library” on Granby Road would inspire kids to read

A substitute teacher opened a “little library” outside her rural Grand Forks home last Sunday, Nov. 15.

Curator and self-described “teacher at heart” Anita Taylor said she wanted to inspire kids’ love of reading.

“Once they learn how to read, that’s a skill that no one can ever take away from them. And it leads them on the path to greater and better things.” Taylor would know, given her three years’ experience substituting across the Boundary.

The library works on the honour system: Anyone can borrow from her collection of books, toys and puzzles at 10500 Granby Rd., provided they follow the library’s COVID-19 protocols and share an item for others to enjoy. “Take a book, leave a book,” Taylor explained.

Taylor said COVID protocols like hand sanitizer, a contact-tracing log (Guest Book) and separate containers for clean and used pens were a condition of her grant from the Vancouver Foundation. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Taylor said COVID protocols like hand sanitizer, a contact-tracing log (Guest Book) and separate containers for clean and used pens were a condition of her grant from the Vancouver Foundation. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Taylor said she applied for a grant from the Vancouver Foundation, which donates to small-scale community initiatives like free libraries, last summer.

“When COVID came around and I found out that there were some neighbourhood kids doing homeschooling, I thought ‘wouldn’t it be nice for the to use this library as well?’”, she told The Gazette.

The foundation approved her grant application six weeks ago, sending Taylor $365 for a long-term supply of hand sanitizer and stationery for the library’s contact-tracing log. That was three months after Taylor said she put in for the grant. But Taylor hadn’t waited.

“Within that three months, I decided I was going to do it myself. That’s when I started going to yard sales and mentioning to people what I was doing and that’s how I got lots of donations.”

The white cabinet that stores Mrs. Taylor’s Little Library came from the Squarebriggs family’s Donaldson Drive Self Storage facility. Taylor has taught young Jaizen Squarbrigggs, according to his mom, Kristina. The Squarebriggs also donated a huge supply of books, Taylor added.

Neighbours Ed and Anna-Lise Hanlon pitched in with tools, elbow grease and much-need encouragement, she continued.

Taylor said the library has been well used in the short time it’s been open to the public. Users have posted over 150 messages of support to her library’s Facebook page, with her real-life log book signed by borrowers as far afield as Alberta.


@ltritsch1
laurie.tritschler@grandforksgazette.ca

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