The love of literature is being spread along the North Shore.
Caroline Higgins and Deborah Poole have a cottage on the Brule Point Road and installed the Windy Acre Little Free Library on Aug. 20.
“Both of us love literature and ever since we were both little, we were big readers,” said Higgins, an English as a Second Language specialist with the Halifax Regional School Board. “We have fond memories of books.”
“Grandmothers sending the latest in the Nancy Drew series for the holidays,” Poole piped in.
Over the years, Higgins said she’s gotten away from reading for pleasure, sticking with things like news, teaching materials and those she may need for any courses she’s taking.
“I haven’t taken the time for myself,” she said. “Being a digital age now and with Facebook, you get away from the enjoyment of literature.”
For Poole, there are two major reasons she wanted to add the Little Free Library at the end of their driveway.
The first, she said, it’s the preservation of the written word.
“In the digital age, the objects themselves are disappearing,” said the curator of the Lawrence House Provincial Museum. “Books are disappearing…printed materials are going the way of the dodo. Books are something very tangible – the smell of the book, the feel of the book, the sound of the pages turning.”
“And it’s the intimacy of reading with a child,” added Higgins.
Poole said with the digital age, most of the things people do are singular, or in a solo way.
“You don’t turn your phone to someone to share it,” she said. “But there’s the intimacy of sitting with your niece, nephew or child in your lap and sharing experiences, making silly voices of the characters…all of those things engages everyone. It brings people together.”
Inside the Little Free Library, located at 1147 Brule Point Rd., visitors will find a variety of adult books and children’s books. There are also bookmarks and reading buddies to take home. There is also a visitor log the couple hope people will sign.
“The kids’ books seem to be going from the library,” said Higgins, adding they’ve been keeping track of what’s available and what leaves.
“We want to know what books, what authors and what age groups are of interest. It’s a conscious project. We’re providing people an opportunity to rediscover reading,” said Poole.
Higgins said they want to curate a collection of wanted books, and that it won’t be a “dump off” for books people don’t want.
Since the couple lives in Maitland, the Little Free Library at their cottage will be open until about Oct. 15 before it goes inside for the winter. Over the winter season, Higgins and Poole will get to work on their second Little Free Library, this time for their home in Maitland. They’ll both be open from May to October.
“The village of Maitland presents its own specific demands,” said Poole. “Not the residents, but the village itself with the history of the village.”
Because of this, the couple is taking the winter to work on that Little Free Library, with ideas around shipbuilding already swirling. Higgins built the one in Brule Point, and will do so again with the one in Maitland.
“It was a lot of fun to build it. My carpentry skills are not my forte,” she laughed.
“But that never deterred you,” added Poole, “and that’s a lesson in itself.”
With Little Free Library being an international organization, there are libraries popping up in various places, including Great Village. The couple is encouraging others, even their neighbours, to create their own if they have the urge.
“You can’t have too many of them,” said Poole, saying one community shouldn’t be passed over for a library because a neighbouring one has one as well. “It’s wherever people are prepared to read.”
For more information on the Windy Acre Little Free Library, visit its Facebook page.