The Sylvan Lake Municipal Library has come up with a unique way for beachgoers to keep up with their summer reading.
Its Beach Book Buddies program sees books distributed free of charge along the lakeshore to anyone who’s interested in reading them.
Library staff and volunteers can be seen several days a week throughout the summer pulling the mobile collection in a small wagon.
“(The books) are discards from our collection, or donations that have come in that we can’t use in our collection,” said library technician Tammy Montague.
Montague said patrons have so far responded extremely positively to the program, which emphasizes the value of reading throughout the year.
But the program is about much more than just promoting literacy, she added. A small but non-mandatory donation jar situated on the wagon offers the chance for patrons to provide the library with financial support, while the very presence of the wagon itself can create something of a social atmosphere for bookworms within its vicinity.
The wagon is filled with a wide selection of paperback fiction geared toward all ages when it leaves the library, and is typically around half empty by the time it returns, said Montague. As of last week, around 100 books had been given out since the program began at the start of July, and library programmer Corrie Brown has witnessed its positive effects first hand.
“Once they realize we’re not selling the books, they are very excited and they ask us about it,” she said. “The kids especially just love it. They go through it like it’s a candy store.”
Beach Book Buddies can most often be found traversing Lakeshore Drive and Centennial Park on Mondays and Wednesdays as well as other days when the weather permits.
Money collected through donations supports library programming and helps purchase new books and other materials.