The Little Free Library that Could

Something new was added to the Takhini Hot Springs Road neighbourhood, where I live, last fall. We now have a Little Free Library at Bean North Café.

Little Free Libraries allow you to take a book and return a different book, or the same one. There are no late fees, and no one keeps track.

This was all organized by author Jessica Simon.

“On assignment for What’s Up Yukon I attended the opening of the Yukon’s first Little Free Library in Riverdale,” Simon says. “Neighbours were donating and borrowing books and talking about the various titles for over an hour. I thought it would be fun to have something like that in our neighbourhood and wanted to support the idea.”

So she went to work.

“I registered as steward of the Bean North branch and [my friend] Kathy got the support of the (Yukon) Literacy Coalition and the (Whitehorse) Poetry Society,” she says. “Then we asked local carpenters to construct the box.”

My dad, Axel Kaiser, has a company called Axellent Carpentry, and he donated the materials.

“The condo-style library Axellent Carpentry built has earned our branch special distinction and the Little Free Library organization has asked for a builder’s sketch to post on their website,” Simon says.

Next came the need for some books for adults and for kids.

“Kathy and I collected book donations and organized the opening,” Simon says.

But not everything went smoothly.

“I had one moment of panic the day before the opening when the library wasn’t erected yet, and my co-steward was in Newfoundland,” Simon says. “But in true Yukon style, an hour before the event, it all came together and the library has been running itself ever since.”

For our family it has become an even bigger treat to go to Bean North now, and we always look forward to the next time our parents will go to buy their coffee while we get to trade books. It’s nice for the big kids and the little ones and is a great way to get free books.

“There are always new books to choose from and people visit it often. The kids’ box looks like a messy bedroom, as it should.”

You can find out more about the Little Free Library and how to start one in your neighbourhood at

So, next time you are getting a coffee, check out the Little Free Library; you might end up reading one of my favourite books.

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