by Rhonda Massad
Tina Ferstman first learned about free little libraries while she was completing a DEC in information and library technologies at John Abbott College. She fell in love with the idea and now has her version of a free library right at the end of her driveway in Dollard Des Ormeaux.
A free library, or, in this case, book corner, is where locals are welcomed to share books on an honour system of taking and leaving books for the community to enjoy.
“I studied exercise science when I was younger but when my daughter was two I decided to stay home with her and later volunteered as a library coordinator at Beechwood Elementary school.” Ferstman told The Suburban in an interview. “It was what inspired me to go back to school three years ago and earn a certificate. I had also developed a great love of reading over the years.”
According to Ferstman it was a combination of exposure to literature and a way to get people together. A community “feel good” project that would hopefully bring people out of their homes where neighbours could meet one another.
“To me it was a way of bringing people out of their houses,” she explained, “getting people to interact. People are not out on the streets anymore. I put a bench beside the book box so it would be welcoming and friendly.”
“I enlisted my husband, Gus Christopoulos to make the box for me,” she happily shared, “He is busy with work and I asked him to keep the deadline of one month, which was my mother’s ninetieth birthday party. He made something based out of a template we found online. He did a prototype out of cardboard. We checked to see if the books would fit and then he made it out of wood. I painted it and decorated it.”
The Corner Book box is located on Bluejay Street in Dollard Des Ormeaux. According to Ferstman the box is open to all languages. There was a good selection of french books in the box at the time of publication. Ferstman chose to decorate the box with decals that say “welcome” in more than thirty languages.