Edmonton Tourist: Little Libraries

My daughter planned an adventure outing for Mother’s Day. She gave me rules and then told me nothing.

“You need to choose five books to leave your collection. Be ready at 10:00 a.m.”

Okay – I can do that, thinking we must be going to a used bookstore or flea market. She did say it was neither of those and then my curiosity piqued. I chose my books and was in the car by 10:00 a.m. She was driving. I was given a clue: You have never been here before and dad says you will love it.

First stop was Starbucks. She bough me a skinny vanilla latte. It tastes better when your kids buy it for you. Then she drove in the direction of the French Quarter.

We crossed the bridge on 82 Avenue that crosses Mill Creek Pool and we turned left. I asked for the address so I could help navigate.

“There isn’t one, you just get to know the general area and then you see it.”

Weird, but okay. Then she pulled over and parked. “Do you know yet?”

I hadn’t the foggiest idea what was happening. She reached into our collective book bag and pulled two books. She opened the car door and waited for me to get out. We walked about 25 steps before we stopped in front of a Little Free Library. She confessed to feeling nervous because it felt like snooping in someone’s home uninvited.

I opened to door and we we began looking through the books – well first I was excited so I immediately placed my book on the shelf. We found nothing that interested us so we decided to go to the next one.

I had a million questions.

  • How did you find a list of little libraries?
  • What gave you the idea?
  • Had you ever used one before?
  • How many are there in Edmonton?

She watched a youtube video of a fellow who decided to visit little libraries in his town. This reminded her of stuff I like to do in Edmonton. Why had it never occurred to me? I love books, I love exploring my city. I love everything about this project.

The website she found is LittleFreeLibrary.org. It says Welcome to the world’s largest book-sharing movement! The site provides maps to all the registered free libraries in the world. She entered our city and boom:

Look at all those libraries in Edmonton! She picked five in a neighbour that has big trees and no one we know. My girl had never used one before but thought I had. I knew of a few but only stumbled upon them randomly and I never had a book with me.

The next one was a couple of blocks away so we went there next.

The owners of this little library were in their yard so it felt weird but we still opened it and found a couple of great books, left two and walked back to our car.

Each library had something we were interested in or had a book that was on our Edmonton Public Library waitlist or was a favourite we had always wanted in our collection. We hit the jackpot.

The last library was filled with Agatha Christie’s and Harlequin Romances. My girl took one of each because she collects Agatha and she had never read a Harlequin. Honestly – everyone needs to read one once in the summer. It’s a right of passage. She took two and left 13 Reason’s Why and Eat this not that.

We finished the day happy and satisfied. I decided then and there that this was going to be my Dad’s father’s day girt – don’t tell. I finally get what my parents mean by ‘don’t buy me any gifts’. They mean “spend time with me”. This was one of those memories I will never forget and I hope she takes me again next year. I want to build one now.

Stay healthy friends!