Thanks to a kind gesture from a stranger, a beloved community book box that mysteriously disappeared from the front lawn of a Montreal home in the Kirkland region has since been replaced.
A new small, brightly-painted, house-shaped outdoor library now stands on Bruce street, overflowing with books.
“In less than 24 hours it was chock-full of books,” said Kelsey Galt, a Kirkland resident and the owner of the library.
The ‘take a book, give a book’ initiative 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.
In September, that connection was cut when the colourful hand-painted steel filing cabinet was taken. Galt suspects it was stolen.
“I definitely was a bit discouraged when it got stolen but if you look for it, there are kind and wonderful people everywhere,” Galt said.
“Definitely more wonderful people than not.”
One of those people is Alberta-based carpenter Jennifer Stuckey.
Stuckey says she stumbled upon a Global News story on the stolen library and said she needed to act.
“I found it, read it and decided to send a new library because people are horrible when they do things like that,” Stuckey said.
Stuckey says she has made over 2,500 of the hand-crafted wooden pieces and doesn’t mind helping out another Canadian, saying it’s what a good Canadian would do.
When Galt and Stuckey first spoke, Galt says she was overwhelmed with emotion and surprise.
“My little intention of connecting with my community has really snowballed into something bigger that has reached to the other side of the country,” Galt said.
Stuckey says the phone call involved a lot of screaming and some crying and lots of joyful yelling.
“I gave her a second to calm down and told her to pick any book box from my website,” Stuckey said.
After it made the 3,000-kilometre trip to Kirkland, Galt has given the library her personal touch, painting it with colourful cartoons and word puzzles.
Galt also plans for the new book box to stick around this time. It’s driven into the ground with wooden spikes.
Galt says her security game has also been improved.
A communications provider has even offered her a free Ring doorbell monitoring system to keep an eye on things.
“I’m overwhelmed with how many people were immediately willing to help out and get it going and how many people were appreciative of it,” Galt said.
Even though Stuckey has never set foot in La Belle Province, she says leaving her mark and bringing joy to a community is recognition enough.
“Even though I am removed from it, I really like to see the outcome of it and I think it’s a lot of fun when people get excited about what I made in my workshop.
“It’s kind of neat.”