The Little Free Library that was ruined in an act of arson Tuesday morning has been re-established, thanks to a flood of donations that have come in since from the community.
So many donations have come in, in fact, that it’s estimated the free community library – located at Welland’s Guerrilla Park – has grown to about three times its original size, said James Takeo, one of the community members who has worked to maintain and beautify the area along the canal.
“To me, it’s a testament to one of the biggest assets of this community,” said Takeo, “The resilience of its citizens to overcome in the face of adversity.”
Among those offering donations was Laurie Richards, owner of Hannelore Headley Old and Fine Books located in St. Catharines.
As a book lover herself, and a fan of Little Free Libraries, Richards said she found it “pretty crappy” that someone would vandalize one.
“Why would anyone do that totally senseless vandalism?” Richards asked. “It’s destroying someone’s potential to travel afar in their mind.”
Richards said that she was inspired to donate to the library after reading Wednesday’s Tribune article on the fire.
“It’s community helping community,” she said, “We get a chance to pay this forward, and that’s amazing.”
The organization behind the Little Free Library movement also contacted The Tribune to see if there was anything it could do to help. Kris Huson, director of marketing and communications at the Hudson, Wis., based organization said she was glad to hear that the Little Free Library had received so many donations already.
She said the organization often sees cases like this, where an act of vandalism leads to the community coming together in support of the boxes.
“Out of the ashes comes a bigger, and better, Little Free Library,” Huson said.
Takeo said that the donations have all been appreciated, but at the time Welland’s free library is mostly in need of more waterproof bins for the books.
Takeo said donations can be dropped off either at his studio on West Main St. or at the BLX studio at the Seaway Mall in care of Wendy McIntyre.
He said more than anything, if people want to help they should just go visit the park and spend some time there.
Welland firefighters responded to the call at Guerrilla Park at 2:22 a.m Tuesday. Deputy chief Brian Kennedy said the fire was small, contained to the mini fridge and extinguished almost instantly.
Just under an hour later, at 3:04 a.m., a second call came in for a dumpster fire at 12 King St., behind the post office on Division St.
Although the fire was contained, Kennedy said, the dumpster was full of waste, giving the fire plenty of fuel. Firefighters were on scene for about 50 minutes.
Both incidents are cases of vandalism, Kennedy said.