Little Free Library in St. Davids aims to stimulate children’s reading

A new, small, free library installed in Sparky Park in St. Davids aims to bring the community together and inspire young people to buy a book, said project supervisor Lili Kvederys.

The design of the Book Dispensary was inspired by the village’s iconic Woodbourne Inn, so it also offers people a bit of St. Davids history,

The project was initiated by the Friends of St. Davids, a community organization launched in 2018 with the goal of uniting the growing population of St. Davids.

Friends co-founder Greg Walker said part of the group’s genesis at the time was because people realized that “this village is growing so fast and none of these people to know each other”.

Greg’s wife, Dorothy, published a book in 2018 on St. Davids titled “A Village in the Shadows”. During the book launch, the couple realized the potential of a community organization in the village.

“Dorothy said to me, ‘Greg, we have to do something about this. Why not start something, why not start some kind of social movement? ‘ So they did.

The organization got off to a good start but was held back by COVID-19. This is where the idea for the small free library came from, he said.

“This year we had two people who said, ‘I would like to do something to bring this community together.’ ”

One of those people was Kvederys.

She wanted the project to encompass the range of members of the St. Davids community.

“We try to reach all age groups and all genders. We would like to have some aboriginal and black history. We try to get a lot of things so that the children who read it understand better, ”she said.

One of his goals with the project was to get more young people to start reading. The small, free library is complete with books for young children and teens and is strategically located next to a playground so children have easy access to literature.

And it’s already working, Kvederys said.

“The very first day I got here there were two little boys sitting here reading a book and I thought, ‘Oh my God,’” she said.

“It’s so good to see them sitting here reading instead of reading their phones and their dad isn’t sitting looking through his emails.”

With its Woodbourne Inn theme, the library helps reinforce the history of St. Davids.

It was designed by Leslie Mann, a model village architect.

Mann said the main features of the current Woodbourne Inn incorporated into the design were the arched doorway with a white handle, two prominent window designs on either side of the building, corbels supporting the ledge of the main door, as well as than the white coating and green paint adorning the windows, doors and roof.

“It’s so nice to have and it educates our community about some of the historical aspects – there are so many beautiful historic buildings in St. Davids,” Kederys added.

Walker said the initiative was originally intended to be the first of several small libraries in St. Davids, all designed after historic property in the village.

But the current Small Free Library, installed on municipal land, is considered a pilot project by the municipality.

Walker said the Friends of St. Davids will wait until the pilot period is over before continuing to build other small free libraries.

Meanwhile, Kvederys wants NOTLers from other parts of town to come and pick up a book and add some of their own to the collection.

She and Jan King-Watson are the stewards of the project. King-Watson recently moved to St. Davids and jumped at the opportunity to get involved in the community project.

“I am so grateful. The Friends of St. Davids just hugged me and made me feel so welcome,” she said.

King-Watson and Kvederys are responsible for overseeing the Little Free Library and ensuring it is stocked with appropriate books on a daily basis.

Basically, Walker hopes that the Little Free Library can be a place where people can commune and engage in literature. “What’s most important is that we see people come and use it. The children come and get books and they sit here and they read. And we say, “You know what? We’re really adding something to this community, ”Walker said.

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