TORONTO – Toronto libraries just got their biggest little competition and it’s called The Little Free Library.

Starting today, North York’s Empress Walk is home to the city’s newest Little Free Library. Located inside the studios of Toronto Dance Salsa, the two-storey structure holds books of all sizes, all of which were donated by the school’s students. It encourages people to ‘Take a book, leave a book,’ and promotes a community exchange of classic, favourite, quirky and everything-in-between books.

It is the brainchild of TDS Owner Evan Carmichael.

“First, we set up a TV outside the school and showed videos of people doing random acts of kindness all day long. People loved it so we left it up, but it also got us thinking – how can we inspire even bigger things?” says owner Evan Carmichael. “That’s when we decided to open The Little Free Library.”

Anyone may take a book to read or leave a book for others to enjoy. The Little Free Library operates on an honour system to stay replenished. The structure itself is manufactured by a non-profit organization using recycled materials. According to Carmichael, books have already been flying off the shelves, with new ones appearing just as quickly.

But The Little Free Library is about more than just encouraging reading, he says. It is about creating a place for exchange, for dialogue, and for fun.

“We’re a dance school, but we’ve always been about more than that. We’re a family, we support each other, and we believe in supporting our community. That’s why we promote other local businesses, we encourage our students to do volunteer work, we hold fundraisers for causes like the fires in Fort MacMurray, and now we’re hoping our lending-library idea will promote a sense of goodwill, trust, and community at a time when the world needs it most,” says Carmichael.

“The more we can get people talking to each other and helping each other, the more we can turn strangers into friends, the better off we’ll all be. Plus, it’s fun; you’ll find titles in there that you won’t find anywhere else, and about things you never even knew you were interested in!”

The Little Free Library will remain accessible to the public during the school’s open hours of operation.

About Toronto Dance Salsa

Toronto Dance Salsa is Canada’s largest salsa dance school. It specializes in turning absolute beginners into dancers. It introduces students to the fundamentals of salsa, bachata, merengue, kizomba, and tango, and also offers workout classes like Zumba. Its new semester of classes is beginning now.