Toronto, September 21, 2023 — First Book Canada today announced the launch of Little Locked Storyboxes, a program that sees five story boxes, filled with fun children’s books, pop up on the front lawns of neighbourhoods in Toronto. The catch? The boxes are locked.
While community lending libraries on lawns are a familiar staple across the country, coming across a Little Locked Storybox will serve as a reminder that access to books for all Canadians is not equal.
For so many Canadians, the idea of picking up the latest bestseller is as easy as popping into your local bookstore; it’s something many of us do without much thought. But that is not the reality for all – and in fact, one in four Canadian households doesn’t own a single book. For many Canadians living at the poverty line, newly arrived from another country or recovering from wildfires or floods, books simply don’t fit within the budget. That’s what First Book Canada aims to change.
“Books offer kids a world of imagination and education. Books are essential, from enhancing brain development in toddlers to empowering teens with representative stories. Having your own shelf of books at home improves school performance and emotional health,” said Heather Farquharson, Executive Director of First Book Canada. “Far too many Canadian children are locked out of access to books – and that needs to change. A book can unlock a child’s own story.”
The Storyboxes will be installed on five lawns in Toronto neighbourhoods with a lock on the front, preventing access to the books inside. Locations include:
● 26 Grenadier Rd, Toronto
● 76 Divadale Drive, Toronto
● 54 Sarah Ashbridge Ave, Toronto
● 190 Fulton Ave, Toronto
● 101 Kendal Ave, Toronto
The Storyboxes will feature a QR code on the lock, driving to the First Book Canada website where community members can learn more about First Book’s mission, and contribute to the cause. Canadian publishers have provided the books, and when the program wraps, they will all be donated and distributed through First Book Canada’s network. Since 2009, First Book has distributed more than 10 million books and educational resources to kids via a network of over 20,000 members serving Canadian kids in need – including shelters, schools, clinics, hospitals, new immigrant transition centres and sports organizations – in every province and territory.