When a little library was stolen in Clayton Heights, it made a big impact on a local family.
“We were a bit frustrated for sure,” said Sarah Hudec. Her family put a lot of time and TLC into their little library.
Hudec said the library meant a lot to her daughter Grace.
“She really enjoyed the whole process of making it. She carved her name in the cement. She was quite disappointed to see that it was gone.”
Hudec said Grace wanted the library back immediately and spent some time trying to figure out who would have wanted to steal her family’s little library and why.
“She was definitely upset, but there weren’t any tears.”
Hudec said Grace also enjoyed the daily process of maintaining the collection. They would check the library every night together to make sure it contained a good mixture of books.
Thieves twisted the miniature book shelter off its post in the Hudec’s yard at 5 a.m., Sept. 11. Security footage from different houses showed that it was loaded into what looked like an SUV.
“We’re not sure if our library was stolen because it was different than the other local libraries, or if it was taken because it wasn’t bolted down.”
Little libraries have popped up in Clayton Heights over the last few months after the United Way kicked off funding for the project.
“They initiated the whole little library thing in Clayton. There are about 14 different little libraries in the area. When they started it, we decided to build our own because we wanted to be part of the process.”
The Hudecs now have one of the United Way libraries after all, as the United Way lent them one for the interim. Once the Hudecs have time, they are planning on building another one of their own.
“We’ll put the one from the United Way up over the next weekend or two,” she said. “Then we’ll build ourselves a new one, but it’ll take some time.”
Despite the theft, Hudec is looking on the bright side.
“We’re hoping it’s gone to a good home. I don’t think it was taken to be destroyed, because they could’ve destroyed it on the post, or left books everywhere.” She said the camera footage showed the thieves putting the little library, books and all, safely into a vehicle.
“I would hope that it’s gone to good home somewhere.”
The ideas behind the local library project are to promote literacy and to create connections between neighbours.
The little libraries are part of a larger initiative to foster local love in Clayton Heights. In October 2018, the United Way made $12,000 in grants available for projects that boosted neighbourhood morale on local levels.
At a 2018 town hall, it was noted that although the Clayton area was built as an intentional community, many people who live in the area feel isolated or disconnected from their neighbours.
– with files from Sam Anderson.