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Builder of little free library in Salmon Arm humble about helping community

‘I’m just one of many that takes care of something like this, so people can enjoy’

The builder of the little library that lives on Alexander Street calls himself just one of many community caretakers.

Kristjan Marteinsson is very humble about his role in creating and maintaining the lending library sponsored by the Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society about eight years ago.

“My wife was on the board at the time, and volunteering, and she volunteered me to build this little house when the idea came up as something they were interested in doing,” said Marteinsson. “But I was happy to do it, I like to build things.”

In May, the library was knocked over, and it was uprooted again in the past two weeks, ending up damaging a neighbouring business’ window during its movement.

It is unknown if the damage was intentional or not but Marteinsson said he’s more than happy to keep fixing the library as long as he is able.

“Somebody maybe has an issue with the world, and decided to take it out on the little library,” he said, but added he doesn’t hold it against anyone or take it personally and understands accidents happen and people make mistakes.

“I’ll try to make the base a little more stable, maybe,” he said. “It’s there now, it’s known, I wouldn’t like to let it become derelict or fall apart.”

Marteinsson said he is an avid reader, although his intake is mostly digital now for ease of reading.

“That didn’t happen easily,” he laughed, “but once I transfer things over for myself I’m just stuck in that world. Print still has its place in the world, it’s important, it helps people access stuff.”

Marteinsson will continue in his role of caretaker but doesn’t believe it makes him special.

“I’m just one of many in this community that takes care of something like this, so people can enjoy.”

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Rebecca Willson

About the Author: Rebecca Willson

I took my first step into the journalism industry in November 2022 when I moved to Salmon Arm to work for the Observer and Eagle Valley News. I graduated with a journalism degree in December 2021 from MacEwan University in Edmonton.
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