Little Free Library stolen in St Catharines - Let's Find It!
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Denise Stone had a sinking feeling in her stomach when she looked into her recycling box Thursday morning.
“As I pulled out, I glanced over and noticed all of these books in my recycle bin. And then I looked up and realized that the library was gone,” she said.
For the past year, a Little Free Library that was a replica of Stone’s South Dr. home, sat on her front lawn.
Last Thursday, the library was stolen.
The Little Free Library movement started in the United States and the idea has been growing in popularity throughout North America, including Niagara.
The outdoor libraries are usually no bigger than a birdhouse. The public is welcome to take whatever books they want or leave a book or books if they choose.
The goal is to promote reading and community involvement. Various homes in Niagara have also joined the movement.
“It was all one piece — they took the whole thing,” said Stone.
It was built by her brother, and she's hesitant to ask him to make her a new one.
“It was something that my brother had built for me and I had it just over a year in the front yard,” said Stone.
“I’m not going to ask him to build another one, because he paid so much attention to detail.”
The Little Library stayed out all year, despite snow or rain.
“I never took it down, because in the winter the snow would be packed down in front of it from people using it,” she said.
“It wasn’t unusual for me to put a book in one day and the next day I would look and someone would have borrowed it. People were always putting books back in as well. It was very much a community fixture for our neighbourhood.”
And, she said, the community has been there for her.
“One neighbour came over yesterday and offered, if I ever wanted to build another one he offered to purchase all the materials, which I thought was so incredibly kind,” said Stone.
“Another neighbour came over yesterday and offered to make a donation toward getting a new little library. It’s been amazing, the kindness that has come out of this.
"Even the organizers (of LittleFreeLibrary.org) in the States heard about it and offered to replace the charter. You register the house and you have a charter number. That sign was on the library with the charter, so they offered to give me a complimentary charter for the new house.”
Her daughter, Mallory Stone, has stepped up to the plate for her mother.
“My daughter has started to build me a new little library and we will put it back out,” said Stone.
“She’s never built anything like this before, but she is researching it and she has started it. It will take her awhile, but it will be back.”
Stone figures the thief may have been interested in the metal stand to sell for scrap.
She isn’t interested in laying charges, she just wants her little library back.
“They can drop it off at my house, no questions asked. If all I get back is the little library itself and not the stand, I am happy." she said.
"It was such a fixture in the neighbourhood. Everybody knew the little library."