Little Free Libraries


Since about two years ago, several districts in Montréal have adopted the “little free library” concept to encourage book reading. These micro-bibliothèques are outdoor self-service book boxes that operate in the spirit of give and take. You deposit a good book in the box, take one for yourself, read it and bring it back. It’s a great way to give people direct access to books outside of the places that are traditionally dedicated to reading.

With support from the Bureau du design, the borough of Ville-Marie launched a major contest to elicit proposals for a self-service library system in the city centre. The contest was open to everyone and gave Montréalers the chance to join creative workshops hosted by architects from the Rayside Labossière firm. They were able to try out all the different design stages, from creating a concept to building a model. Among the 41 proposals made, it was Les Pigeonniers (the pigeon lofts) from the ALLY collective that won the day. The first one has been installed in Cabot Square, right near the southeast entrance to Atwater metro.

In addition to helping us share the joys of reading, these mini-libraries have allowed city residents and designers to express their creativity and design a new kind of urban furniture.