WINCHESTER – It appears as though there’s no honour in the honour system as the lil’ free library that Cathy Cullen has been operating outside of her Church Street home was stolen Sat., July 28.
The library, which consists of a small birdhouse sized structure on a post with a small bench that contains children’s books, is a well-known feature on the street and oft used by adults and kids alike. People will take a book or two and replace them with
On Saturday afternoon at approximately 4:30 pm, Cullen saw a man park his SUV and approach the library with something in his hand. She thought nothing of it and prefers to give people their privacy when they are choosing their books.
The man was only there for a few moments, got back in his car and left. It was shortly after he left that Cullen looked out the window and that the bench at the base of the library was missing.
She went out to take a closer look and found that the entire library had been emptied.
Much like the Grinch, the thief left nothing behind. Every book was stolen. He even attempted to steal the small light inside the library but was unsuccessful so he settled for the batteries and battery cover instead.
Cullen has reported the theft to police but doesn’t have much hope in recovering the items. The theft has left her quite discouraged and questioning whether it’s worth it to resurrect the free book exchange.
However, she does admit that one of the greatest joys has been watching kids select their books.
“When they picked their book they would hug it so tight and walk away with it. I love that,” she said.
Cullen estimates that she’s given away more than 300 of her own books in the library, but she always had a hard time turning down a good book for a good price.
“If I’m in Chapters and I see clearance books for $5 I will buy them and put them out,” she said.
For now, the library will remain empty, but despite the dishonourable actions of one individual, Cullen hopes to eventually fill the shelves once more and spread the joy of reading.