Little Free Libraries in Brantford 

The Little Free Library in Brantford is a public art project aimed at inspiring a love of reading, building community, and sparking creativity in Brantford. This is a collaborative project between the City of Brantford, Brant Skills Centre, and Jono & Laynie Photo + Film. There are many benefits of installing Little Free Libraries, including: an enhanced sense of neighbourhood and community pride, freewheeling exchange of books that is community-curated, giving staff insight into the values and interest of their community, and children, youth and adults of all ages, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds can participate equally, among countless other reasons.

Our hope is that these Little Free Libraries will inspire the love of reading, provide opportunities to learn and meet someone new, and encourage appreciation for public art in Brantford. These humble book exchanges will help to enhance our neighbourhoods, and will provide our community with a space to express what is important to them.

2 Fire Station, 311 St. Paul Avenue
Artist: Elizabeth Gosse

Turquoise and white book exchange with painted door and ivy"This Little Free Library is inspired by the love of reading and how books open so many doors to our imagination and into the lives of other people. The image that began it all is the balcony on the back, which was taken here in Brantford; we call it Juliet's balcony. So many fairy tales have inspired children and adults to read, explore, and learn... Doors, including secret passage ways and portals, symbolize a transition from one place to another in literature, from Alice in Wonderland to The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, to Harry Potter. It is not limited to fairy tales and fantasy, it extends to autobiographies, biographies, and non-fiction books that open our eyes to a new world, to new ways of connecting ideas, people, events, and even new ways of thinking. Books ...give us new perspectives about our lives, the world, and how we live in them." - Elizabeth Gosse

4 Fire Station, 400 Colborne Street West
Artist: Dave McCreary

Little Library decorated with original Brantford neighbourhood crests

This Little Free Library is covered with the original Brantford neighbourhood crests that McCreary designed. "Each of the fifteen crests consists of imagery and text that reflects the specific character of the neighbourhood (with a little humour thrown in). There are many specific civic and cultural references for Brantford residents to enjoy. I have been working away on this neighbourhood series for a few years now, and [I love that it is] realized in a three dimensional physical form, placed in one of the actual wards portrayed." - Dave McCreary

Bell Homestead National Historic Site, 94 Tutela Heights Road
Artist: Cassandra Chambers

Little Library with painting of Bell Homestead facade

"Alexander Graham Bell and his invention of the telephone is an important part of Brantford and all of Canada's history. It changed the way everyone in the world communicates. I thought it was very fitting to illustrate the Bell Homestead, his home in Canada, and two of the very first phones he created." - Cassandra Chambers

Branlyn Community Centre, 238 Brantwood Park Road
Artist: Lizzy Mikulich

Little Library with black and white trees and portrait of a raccoon face

"As an artist born and raised in Brantford, I find that one of the most important icons in our city is the Grand River. Having grown up just blocks away from Wilkes Dam, I have become familiar and enamored with our long trails and rampant wild life. My goal with [my Little Free Library was] to depict the flora and fauna of the Grand River in a whimsical, illustrative style to draw a connection between the Grand River and the Little Free Library itself." - Lizzy Mikulich

Brantford Visitor & Tourism Centre, 399 Wayne Gretzky Parkway
Artist: Alex Mikulich

Little Library decorated with a vintage map of Brantford with a focus on the Grand River

"I decided to design what I imagine the first recorded map of Brantford would have looked like. The map details the Grand River and its surrounding area, including Six Nations, and incorporates quotes from various poems by poet E. Pauline Johnson. I believe that this theme illustrates the rich history of Brantford and its people." - Alex Mikulich

Central Services Fire Hall, 60 Clarence Street
Artist: Aleah Durham

Landscape of Lorne Park with trees and landscaped gardens

"Lorne Park is one of Brantford's most notable horticultural parks. It has a beautiful array of annual and perennial gardens and proudly displays all of the provincial flags. I thought this would be an excellent choice to showcase the parks and gardens of the 'Best Bloomin' City.'" - Aleah Durham

Doug Snooks Eagle Place Community Centre, 333 Erie Avenue
Artist: Aliki Mikulich

Canada geese flying along the brush alongside the Grand River

"The Grand River is the life blood that flows through Brantford. You can feel its energy and its ancient existence when walking alongside it. My art depicts the animals, the water, and the vegetation that surrounds it... My [Little Free Library depicts] the river by the trail that begins at Wilkes Dam where I walk every morning. The piece is based on one of my paintings entitled, "River Geese." - Aliki Mikulich

Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant, 20 Ava Road
Artist: Heather Vollans

Grey stones and red glass mosaic with maple leaf pattern

"My art practice is mosaic, and with mosaic, usually the most simple designs are the most effective. My idea for my Little Free Library was simple: pure, simple Canadian symbolism - red maple leaves on a stone background. The stones were collected on the shores of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and Lake Huron." - Heather Vollans

Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre, 254 North Park Street
Artist: Christa Potter

Photographs taken along Grand River from perspective of a kayaker

"This summer (2017), I bought my own kayak and have been paddling the Grand River twice a week in the early mornings. One morning, as my paddle dipped quietly in and out of the water, I found myself thinking about the river I was on and its history. I thought of the Group of Seven, who painted and maybe even canoed around this countryside. Lawren Harris, born and raised here in Brantford, expressing how he saw rivers and mountains in neat, graduated shapes and colours. My mind traveled to the Haldimand Treaty made with the Haudenosaunee people and how this stretch of river was once promised to them for their partnership with the early settlers. The Group of Seven and the Haudenosaunee shared a strong sense of awe and wonder for the land we live on in Brant County and the wider scope of Canada.

[I chose] to use a combination of photographs and paintings of the Grand to cover my Little Free Library, as a way of exploring this idea of reconciliation through the shared appreciation of our land. This idea of exchanging knowledge and experience is the first step in healing relationships and creating friendships not only between Indigenous and Settler, but people of all ethnic, economic, and social groups... Each patron, as they contribute or find a book, will be reminded of the Canadian identity forged through art and our opportunity for reconciliation and hope, right in our own backyard. When sharing books, they will experience a glimpse of what Canada is working toward - a community where each person is respected and admired for their own beauty, a beauty that is reflected in the landscape of our incredible country." - Christa Potter

Woodman Park Community Centre, 491 Grey Street
Artist: Arlene Laskey

Turquoise and blue with wording about reading and green leaves

"Easy access to books enriches lives, opening new worlds to the imagination, inspiring creative adventures, and introducing a range of perspectives and world views... I want my [Little Free Library] to grab attention and draw people closer to discover what is on offer within it. [It will] attract the interest of children, youth, and adults, inviting them to explore, consider new ideas, find new interests, build skills, and expand their inner worlds while also creating opportunities for conversation with others encountered on site or later." - Arlene Laskey

 

All photographs courtesy of Layne Beckner Grime of Jono & Laynie Photo + Film.