A beloved community book box has disappeared after being plucked from the front lawn of a Kirkland residence Monday.
For the last three months, Kelsey Galt and her son Jack’s book box has been a staple on Bruce Street in Kirkland.
On Monday, the colourful hand-painted steel filing cabinet was taken. Galt suspects it was stolen.
“Once I put it out into the world, I knew it was vulnerable to theft,” Galt said.
The ‘take a book, give a book’ initiative was started as a pandemic project for Galt and her son.
Galt said she felt isolated and was seeking to build a better connection with her West Island community through reading.
A way to bond with her son, what started as a box of books on a ladder blossomed into something much bigger — something Galt didn’t expect.
“Within a couple of days, the box was filled with books. We put some doggy treats. People used it all the time,” Galt said.
“We would check it almost every day and there would be new books gone and new books in.”
The loss of the popular book box has sent shock waves throughout the tight-knit community.
“I thought it was a fantastic initiative. It’s certainly got the community involved. I think people really appreciated it. I think people will be disappointed to hear it was stolen,” Galt’s neighbour Joanne Smith said.
Smith saw the project grow and progress over the weeks and is saddened by the news.
“People are pretty brazen. And in this neighbourhood, you don’t expect it. No one needs a filing cabinet that badly,” Smith said.
Sophie Anne Smith, who promoted the book box on social media, says she couldn’t believe someone would rob the community of this small pleasure.
“I didn’t know who did it. I can’t think of a monster to pick up a random box,” Smith said.
Galt says she has filed a police report for the theft but says she is ready to turn the page and start over.
“It’s definitely served a purpose beyond what I was expecting and with all the feedback I’ve gotten, it’s definitely more encouraging to get it going again,” Galt said.
“One act of unkindness is not worth derailing a whole initiative.”
Galt has already received a heap of encouragement from the online community. People have offered to donate books and used filing cabinets.
While the first book box was held down by camping stakes, Galt says she will be investing to improve her security for the future project.
“I’m definitely going to have to up my anti-theft game,” Galt said.
“Might to have to put something a little more concrete quite literally,” she said while laughing.