A new ‘Little Free Library’ will soon be installed at City Hall Park following unanimous Council support received Monday.
The request to install the little library came from Yorkton This Week who presented the idea with two goals in mind.
The first goal was to have the little library as a way to commemorate two long-time employees who have recently passed; former publisher Neil Thom and former advertising manager Bill O’Boyle. Both had had more than 30-years with the newspaper in the city.
“It hit all of us at Yorkton This Week pretty hard losing two people in such close succession. Neil and Bill were not just co-workers, but friends,” said YTW editor Calvin Daniels, himself a 30-year employee.
“One day I just happened to drive by the little library that was installed at Yorkton Regional High School a couple of years back, and thought it would be a nice memorial to a couple of people involved in an industry that relies on readers.”
City Manager Lonnie Kaal told Council the idea fits with the idea of community.
“These names are well known in this community as they both had 30+ year careers with YTW. Therefore, the proposal is conducive to promoting the community to wander through the park, relax, grab a free book and enjoy; and maybe think of Neil or Bill. After all, you would just have to look across the street and see the place where both of them spent a lot of time,” she detailed in a report circulated to Council Monday.
The library box would include a memorial plaque for Bill O’Boyle and Neil Thom and while this is not typical, Administration sees no issues with this placement. The donation of the free-library fits with the ‘Gifts and Memorial Program’ Policy as it will “enhance this public park,” continued the report.
That is the second aspect of making the request for YTW. A community newspaper is keenly aware of the importance of community literacy, and having free access to books is a way to promote reading.
John Bauman publisher at YTW said he is gratified to see the support coming from Council.
“I’m very appreciative to the City Council for allowing us to honour Neil and Bill in this way.” he said. “They were both a huge part of the history Yorkton This Week.”
Councillor Randy Goulden said she was pleased to support the idea.
“I want to thank Yorkton This Week for bringing this forward,” she said.
Goulden then began to cry a little as she related how she had known both Thom and O’Boyle, and had worked closely on several boards with Thom.
“I think this is a wonderful opportunity to recognize them,” she managed.
Coun. Aaron Kienle was on side too.
“I don’t have the right words for this,” he said, adding he was aware of the little library at YRHS and one at the lake in summer, and the concept is a good one.
Coun. Ken Chyz, a former newspaperman himself said while Thom and O’Boyle were actually competitors in his day “they are definitely deserving of the recognition.”
Coun. Mitch Hippsley said the pair were simply good people in the community.
“Anyone who met them could never say anything but good things about them,” he said.
The maintenance of the library box, which will be installed after the snow melts, will be tended by YTW.
Bauman said that the public can help as well.
“Any donations of books will be greatly appreciated and we can assure there will be a fresh issue of the paper placed every week.”