Little library, big benefits

TRUE BOOKWORMS: Nadia du Preez, owner of Die Handelsmark, and Alexis Salaman, co-founder of the education non-profit organisation Youth Potential South Africa, with their Little Free Library
TRUE BOOKWORMS: Nadia du Preez, owner of Die Handelsmark, and Alexis Salaman, co-founder of the education non-profit organisation Youth Potential South Africa, with their Little Free Library
Image: Supplied

Little Free Libraries, about 90,000 globally, are tiny wooden boxes filled with books.

And the rules are simple — take a book, leave a book.

 Now, a new Little Free Library has opened at Die Handelsmark country restaurant, cafe and gift shop in the Gamtoos Valley, just outside Patensie.

Books are scarce in the area and residents must travel to buy books as bookshops simply do not exist there.

Education non-profit organisation Youth Potential South Africa and Die Handelsmark partnered to make the library possible.

The Little Free Library makes the sharing of books easy and it is open during business hours for all community members to use and enjoy.

The way it works is simple.

If you see a book you would like to read you can take it home and then pass it on to a friend or return it.

 The books are always free and residents are encouraged to leave books in the library for others to enjoy.

Youth Potential South Africa co-founder Alexis Salaman said: “This Little Free Library belongs to the whole Gamtoos Valley community.

“I am sure it will bring a little more joy, a little more connection and a whole lot more books to our community.”

LITERARY TAKEAWAY: The Gamtoos Valley’s Little Free Library
LITERARY TAKEAWAY: The Gamtoos Valley’s Little Free Library
Image: Supplied

Salaman said the Free Little Library in the Gamtoos Valley was the fifth in SA.

Die Handelsmark owner Nadia du Preez said: “We love to make visitors to our valley feel at home.

“People can stop in, take a book, and a coffee on the go.

“The cafe also has a cosy outside area to relax, read, exchange books and socialise.

“My hope is that this little gem will help build community, spark creativity and inspire reading in our neighbourhood.

“It will also give welcome access to interesting books for visitors during this holiday season.”

According to the Little Free Library website, the idea was born in the US 10 years ago.

The first Little Free Library was built in 2009 by the late Tod Bol in Hudson, Wisconsin.

Bol mounted a wooden container designed to look like a one-room schoolhouse on a post on his lawn and filled it with books as a tribute to his mother, a book lover and schoolteacher, who had recently died.

Bol then shared his idea with his partner, Rick Brooks, and they built more Little Free Libraries in Midwestern states of the US.

After a while, the idea started to spread and today, Little Free Libraries is a global phenomenon.

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