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Tiny library posted near Ndilo
Builders hope residents will contribute books

Evan Kiyoshi French
Northern News Services
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Eric Binion is the city's newest librarian after he installed a small house-shaped box at the end of his driveway where he hopes residents will begin leaving reading material to share.

Binion said he's recently spent time with his friend city councillor Dan Wong building a small blue house with a green tin roof and a glass door that sits atop a blue post. He hopes it will prompt a wave of book sharing at the end of his Latham Island driveway. Binion said he witnessed a sharing-trend while living in British Columbia and thinks it's time to bring it to the North.

"We were living in Victoria for a long time and there's tons of those things down there," he said. "You come up you can take a book if you want you can leave a book too, that's it."

The book box went up Monday morning, said Binion, and he has e-mailed around to let folks know what it's all about.

"A couple of people said they're interested and they'll come check it out," he said. "I'm just trying to let people know what's going on and trying to build a little community."

The Yellowknife Co-op runs a book swap and there is the public library in town, but Wong said he'd like to see more book sharing.

"It would be simple enough to put these up in local parks," he said.

Binion said his favourite title currently on the tiny shelf is Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer.

"It's about when everybody died on Mount Everest in the 1990s," he said. "That's a book I read a long time ago. (It was a) really big failed expedition."

He said his wife chipped in some Salman Rushdie books and he threw in whatever else he could find around the house.

"I put The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Stieg Larsson, 2005) ... I haven't read it, but I know people like that stuff. We wanted to put stuff in there that's popular so people would use it."

Wong said they're hoping to find more children's material in the box after it's been in operation for a while, since he thinks the tiny-house library will pique their interests.

"For kids, it's kind of a neat thing because you come up and you're just sort of drawn into this little house," he said.

Binion said he isn't looking for a bulk delivery of used books, since the little house will fill up quickly.

"The last thing I want is for people to drop off tons of books and have them all rotting in a pile," said Binion. "I have no idea how this is going to play out."

Binion said they modeled the book box after his home - a cabin once owned by author Rene Fumoleau, which was transported to Latham Island from Trout Rock, on the north arm of Great Slave Lake, in the 1960s.

"I'm not an expert in construction," he said. "It's mostly Dan's skills. The hardest part was building the door."

It took a lot more work to complete than it might seem, said Wong, but they're cheap to build. Wong said they hope the location, near Ndilo on Morrison Drive, will mean the box will get the right kind of attention.

"We decided to put it here because we think it's a good spot of the island, we think people will be engaged," he said. "It's right near Ndilo ... so that's kind of an element to it too. We'll see what happens with community engagement."

Looking over at his councillor companion, Binion said he's thinking of filing a request with the city to remove a small tree that stands next to the box so it will be more visible to those passing by.

Wong said he's not so sure about the tree removal.

"I like the tree next to it," he said.

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