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Canadians converting their Little Free Libraries to non-perishable food banks

(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

You can always depend on the kindness of book people. Across Canada, Little Free Libraries, the adorable book cupboards perched on front lawns that are stocked with books free to a good home, are being converted. Sharing boxes are stocked with non-perishable food, personal care, and household items for those who need something more urgent than their next great read.

A map on LittleFreeLibrary.org is tracking sharing boxes around the world, including 13 currently active in Canada (it’s not a prerequisite to have a registered Little Free Library to host a sharing box). The boxes have popped up from Nanaimo, B.C., to Long River, P.E.I., with three of the boxes in London, Ontario, alone.

The map will continue to be updated every weekday “until it is no longer needed.” The Little Free Library group is also urging its participants to regularly disinfect their sharing boxes, but quotes the Centers for Disease Control epidemiologist Dr. David Berendes in saying, “We are not concerned at all about paper-based materials like books being a transmission route.” So while community libraries remain closed, the Little Free Libraries are open, even if their inventories may look a little different.