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Ward 11 News: Little Free Library Community Information Event Follow-Up

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Ward 11 official website
Thanks to all who joined my team and I, and some amazing community partners at our Community Information Event on Little Free Libraries. We are so grateful to Calgary’s newly appointed Poet Laureate Micheline Maylor, Calgary Reads, The City of Calgary – Calgary Neighbourhoods, The Lincoln Park Tool Shed, and to Voltage Creative Garage for hosting our session and providing an awesome live library building demo! In case you missed it and are still interested, my team has compiled some information for you to get started with your own Little Free Library (LFL)...
Sarah, Neighbourhood Partnership Coordinator in Ward 11 with some background help from John, Calgary Parks Strategist in Ward 11 shared the details on choosing a location for your LFL. There are three options of where to install your library: on private property; on Community Association land; or on public, City of Calgary owned land. So, what’s next?!
1.       Installing a LFL on private property
If it’s on private property, such as your home property, church, business the only steps you’d have to take is:
·         Consult the landowner to gain approval – so developer, church staff, business owner
·         Call before you dig – Alberta 1 call to know where utility lines are and 311 for irrigation lines
·         Ensure that the location of the ‘‘Free Little Library’’ does not impeding any sidewalk or pathway
·         This is by far the EASIEST location option as it has the fewest steps
2.       Installing a LFL on Community Association land
On Community Association land that has a license of occupation with The City:
·         Contact your community association to gain approval
·         Call before you dig
·         311 for irrigation lines
·         Inform Parks through your City of Calgary Neighbourhood Partnership Coordinator (NPC) (Call 311 to determine who the NPC is for your neighbourhood, or work with your community association to connect with The City)
·         Again, ensure that the location of the ‘‘Free Little Library’’ does not impeding any sidewalk or pathway
·         No additional requirements/approvals
3.       Installing a LFL on public, City of Calgary Parks land:
Parks land is any pocket park in your neighbourhood, that linear green space running through parts of your community, playfield, etc. If you need assistance to determine if a parcel of land belongs to Parks, contact 311.
·         Through the NPC, request a specific location or ask Parks (through a Parks Community Strategist) to recommend a location. Parks prefers to have input from the project initiator or neighbours, and that you have some idea in mind as to the best location to install a ‘‘Free Little Library’’ to be accessed by the neighbourhood.  The Parks Zone Superintendant will investigate locations to consider the following factors:
§  Regular maintenance ‘ease’: Will it get in the way of a mower, does grass need a trimmer around the base (a trimmer can deteriorate a post so that it becomes unstable and poses an eventual safety hazard);
§  For this reason, Parks will try to locate an existing shrub or tree bed – they typically have mulch bases and don’t require trimmers/maintenance.
§  The ‘‘Free Little Library’’ must be at least 3-4 meters set back from trees and it cannot be located under a tree. Urban Forestry is contacted if there’s potential to impact any trees.
§  Again, ensure that the location of the ‘‘Free Little Library’’ does not impeding any sidewalk or pathway
§  The ‘‘Free Little Library’’ needs to be at least 1-2 meters outside of any playground border
§  Sight Line survey:  you must include anyone who’s property has a sight line to the ‘‘Free Little Library’’ in a sight line survey. This survey can be done at the same time as working with Parks to gain approval.  The City of Calgary has sight line survey templates for you to use (contact the NPC or Parks Community Strategist).
§  Once Parks approves the location, the Community Association (CA) will need to approve the site for installation of a ‘‘Free Little Library’’ by way of board motion to enter into an ‘optional amenities agreement’.  The CA becomes ultimately responsible for maintaining and monitoring the library and carries insurance for this type of amenity. Typically, the CA will be interested in a partnership or agreement with the ‘‘Free Little Library’’ project initiator to support maintenance/monitoring. If it needs to be repaired/removed for any reason the CA is consulted and they work with Parks to resolve any issues.
§  If the CA doesn’t support a particular location, it is advisable to find an alternate location.
Library Steward
As the creator of your LFL, you are the library’s steward, regardless of where the library is installed. This means, you are responsible to care for and stock your library. As Calgary Reads put it, “your little library is like a puppy – at the beginning it requires a lot of attention to get trained!”
Have you put up your Little Free Library?! We would love to see it! Simply snap a photo and share it with us at

This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.

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