Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Book Activists Unite!

There are two kinds of people in world: those who are passionate about books, and everyone else.

Of the passionate group, there are also two kinds: those who pull back with glum sigh when bookdom is threatened, and those who take up (symbolic) arms in defence.

Mr. Bill Wrigley of Toronto is an engineer and bridge builder by profession, who appears to hold the motto, "When the going gets tough, the tough get building!"

In an early instance of toughness, he regarded his wife's 3000+ mysteries and apparently concluded that a bookshelf probably wouldn't do. Rather than harping on her to dissolve the collection, he built her a reading room with such features as secret doors and a button on one volume's spine which ignites the fireplace when pressed.

Apprentice Writer would have adored Mr. Wrigley for that alone. But!

He has now gone on to new heights of heroism. How, the Gentle Reader may ask?

Toronto currently has a mayor who won the election by promising to "Stop the Gravytrain" (i.e. eliminate wasteful spending at city hall). Once elected, he found there was surprisingly little actual gravy on the train. In order to fulfill election promises, he has embarked on an in-depth examination of city expenditure with a view to cutting/selling.

One of the culling candidates is the city library service, with some branches projected for outright closure and others "merely" looking at limitations like weekend closures (when user numbers have traditionally been highest). When literary giant Margaret Atwood protested, the mayor famously stated that he would probably not recognize her on the street.

Many Torontonians responded by forming unfavorable conclusions about a holder of Canadian public office who didn't know who Margaret Atwood is. Mr. Wrigley did something much more useful: he built a Little Free Library on his street.

It is open 24/7, operates on the principle of take one, leave one, and is carefully stocked with items that appeal to various age groups. It had its grand opening celebration this past weekend.

Mr. Wrigley considered inviting Margaret Atwood but decided he didn't want to make political statements.

Bravo, Mr. Wrigley, for this gem of an example of "Deeds, not Words", and for making your neighborhood more interactive and neighborhoody. Apprentice Writer hopes that in future there will be friendly competitions of who can build the most architecturally interesting Little Free Library in their town.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Thanks for sharing good news!