(Alder Street Little Free Library/victoriaplacemaking.ca)

Residents across Greater Victoria now have access to more picturesque book exchange portals than ever before.

As of September 10, the region has a total of 350 Little Free Libraries installed, providing a plethora of literary options for people in B.C.’s capital.

“Little free libraries” or LFLs are public book boxes where people are encouraged to “take a book, leave a book.” While you can find them all over the world, Greater Victoria boasts its own impressive collection.

The 350th LFL was installed along the 200-block of Linden Ave in early September by a neighbourhood resident.

“When I read the story of my May Street neighbour Jim installing the 300th little free library, I thought I would build my own,” says Ken Beswick, the Linden Ave resident who installed the LFL.

“I have lots of wood scraps in my idle workshop and also time. The design came from a little Ukrainian house model we have. I mounted it a few days ago and there have already been lots of comings and goings.”

The Greater Victoria Placemaking Network started mapping the region’s book exchange boxes with the help of Sarah Rose Robert of Oaklands Community Association in 2015 and updated it in 2016 with the help of Stephanie Ferguson and Teale Phelps Bondaroff from The Idea Tree Consulting.

Their map shows both locations and photos of Greater Victoria’s ever-growing collection of free book nooks. Some library locations still require photos or address confirmations.

If you want to find your closest little free library or know of an undocumented library somewhere in the CRD, check out the map on their website.

“Whenever I’m out cycling around dropping off books to little free libraries, I meet fascinating people and fall into interesting conversations,” said Phelps Bondaroff.

“Little free libraries are not just places to pick up a book, but they help build community. These days, people realize that now, more than ever, we need points of connection in our shared public spaces.”

Check out this story for examples of innovative LFLs in and around Victoria!

With files from Hannah Koning.