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Free book exchange

Free book exchange

The borough of Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (CDN-NDG) is launching a free resident-to-resident book exchange.
It’s called Livre-service, a play on words since “libre-service” means “self-serve” in French. The new service is similar to the “plantcatching” project that an NDG gardener ran last summer -residents left a plant or a bag of seeds outside with a note inviting others to take it.
By now you may have seen one of the borough’s attractive book boxes, which look like Canada Post mailboxes or newspaper vending machines. It’s decorated with images of piles of books, so there’s no mistaking its purpose.
The borough’s free book exchange initiative was inspired by similar projects in major cities around the world. It’s simple and practical. The books are sheltered from rain, snow and wind, and the book box is easy to spot, so the exchange can work year-round and books will stay in good condition if cared for.
There is no charge, no registration and no obligation. Users pick a book and then decide whether or not to return it. They may want to deposit books they like in the box. Participants save trips to the library and think about reading more often. All that is needed for the success of Livre-service is citizen participation.
At the official launch in Macdonald Park in mid-December, interim borough mayor Lionel Perez said that he was delighted with the project. “Not only do we hope Livre-service will encourage people to read more, we also want to create a community of readers who trade good books freely. I invite residents of all ages to take part in this exchange and make the book boxes their own.”
Here’s a good New Year’s resolution if you haven’t made one – resolve to read more real books. There’s nothing like feeling a real book in your hands, the smell of ink and paper, turning the pages one by one at home, or even in a café if your internet gadget’s battery suddenly dies on you.
The service will soon be available at seven more locations, with plans to add more book boxes if the idea catches on.
Book boxes will soon be found at the Accès Montréal office,
5160 Décarie Blvd., at the Darlington Plaza, near the Plamondon metro station, near the Université de Montréal metro station, near Concordia University’s Loyola campus, near the Vendome metro station and at the intersection of Monkland and Marcil.
Livre-service has no connection to the Montreal public libraries network, so book boxes can’t be used to return library materials.

Marie Cicchini |
Photo courtesy of the borough of CDN-NDG

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