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Northern Life distribution box gets second life as little free library

If you’re in the area, Paddy Lake Rd. resident Mike Racine invites you to take a book or leave a book
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Monique Pitre (front, in purple) and two neighbours cut the ribbon on the Paddy Lake Bookhouse little free library.

A former Northern Life distribution box has a second life as a little free library on Paddy Lake Road, in a rural area of Greater Sudbury’s South End.

The little free library’s creator, Mike Racine, said that since Northern Life, Sudbury.com’s former sister print publication, went out of print in March 2020, the distribution box on nearby Horseshoe Lake Road had sat vacant, even collecting some garbage. 

It was becoming something of an eyesore. 

After reading an article on little free libraries, Racine got the idea of converting the distribution box, and got permission to go ahead from Northern Life publisher Abbas Homayed.

Using the distribution box as the base, and also employing recycled wood, Racine constructed the little free library, which looks a bit like a small outhouse. 

He called his little free library the Paddy Lake Bookhouse (the word “outhouse” is also on the sign, but has been crossed out, to humorous effect).

“Those that do know what a Northern Life box looks like, you can make it out, if you know what it is,” he said.

Racine said he thought a Little Free Library would be great for his neighbourhood, as they’re far away from the closest library branch, and COVID-19 has given people a lot more time to read books. 

There seems to be a lot of book lovers on the road of about 30 homes, and neighbours love to chat about their latest read.

He said his partner Monique Pitre is a big reader, although he himself prefers puttering around outside, and only tends to pick up a book if he’s on vacation or the weather is poor.

“The idea of people amassing books that are sitting and gathering dust on shelves, why not share?” Racine said.

In place since mid-September, the little free library has already seen some use, with neighbours in the tight-knit community dropping off and picking up reading material. Racine said right now, there are some romance novels, non-fiction books and even a handful of DVDs in the box.

The Paddy Lake Bookhouse is located at 441 Paddy Lake Rd. If you’re in the area, Racine encourages you to visit, take a book or share a book.



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Heidi Ulrichsen

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