Saturday, May 18, 2024

75,000th book delivered to the little free library network in Greater Victoria


Book lovers, rejoice, another little free library is coming to Victoria. 

This Saturday, the organization behind upkeeping all the little free libraries (LFLs) around town, will be unveiling the 650th LFL.

This milestone comes just days after the group announced the LFLs now host more than 75,000 books around the region.

The Greater Victoria Placemaking Network (GVPN) Pocket Places Project has been delivering books to LFLs since 2017 and this week they hit their newest milestone of 75,000 books delivered. 

The GVPN’s mission has always been to inspire people, neighbourhoods and communities to create vibrant public places that promote health, happiness and well-being. The LFLs are just one way they accomplish that mission. 

The 75,000th book delivered was a copy of Phyllis Webstad’s The Orange Shirt Story.

“With Orange Shirt Day around the corner, I thought that The Orange Shirt Story was perfect to deliver as our 75,000th book,” said Pocket Places Project Lead, Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff. 

Most of their books that line the LFLs shelves are donated by local book shops , however, their  milestone reaching book was purchased by the GVPN through a GoFundMe they started to purchase books about truth and reconciliation with Indigenous Canadians. 

That GoFundMe initiative has now raised almost $7,000 for books on reconciliation.

Dr. Phelps Bondaroff’s hope is that The Orange Shirt Story, like all the others that get cycled into the system of LFLs, gets cycled through the network of LFLs. That way, it can be enjoyed by numerous people because “take a book and leave a book” is the principle the LFLs were founded upon. 

The LFLs are created by community members and volunteers. Now with over 645 LFLs it takes a village to upkeep them and make sure there are new books being cycled in. Dr. Phelps Bondaroff can frequently be seen biking through the CRD delivering books to those LFLs from his bike trailer.

Books aren’t the only things the LFLs hold, they often also contain a wealth of ​​toys, art and art supplies, poetry, puzzles and board games, yarn, non-perishable food, household items, seeds, and plants.

“People in the region love little free libraries and I’m constantly impressed with their creativity,” said Dr. Phelps Bondaroff. 

“These little book boxes bring people together and help transform public spaces, and in this way act as coral reefs for the community.”

The 645+ LFLs can all be identified on a map that grows every day as new LFLs are built and stocked. They can even be found on the GVPN’s website. If you know of one that isn’t included on their website, you can submit a photo and have it added. 

On Saturday, September 24th at 11:00 a.m., the ribbon will be cut on the region’s 650th little free library. 

LFL enthusiasts will be gathering at the corner of Haultain and Scott Streets for a short ribbon cutting, followed by a celebration. Refreshments will be provided.

The latest little free library, dubbed the ‘Garden View LFL,’ was installed by Marthinus and Lori de Wet, and built from salvaged and upcycled materials. 

Curtis Blandy

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