Russell Books has achieved a new world record for stacking the most Guinness World Records books. The tower had to be at least six metres tall to make the cut. The local book store completed the feat in its new Fort Street location, located across the street from the multi-unit storefront it called home for three decades. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Russell Books marks opening of new location by setting Guinness World Record

Store stacks world record books more than six metres high

A hushed crowd watched with anticipation as hundreds of Guinness World Records books were slowly stacked atop one another in the new Russell Books location Thursday afternoon.

The iconic local book store has nearly completed its biggest move in three decades – transporting hundreds, if not thousands, of books from its previous, 12,000-square-foot store across the street to its new multi-level, 18,000-square-foot facility at 747 Fort St.

READ ALSO: Downtown Victoria’s Russell Books moving next door

“It’s a work in progress. It’s a huge move but we’re so lucky that it’s just across the street,” said co-owner Andrea Minter, who’s worked at the original Fort Street location since she was 13 years old. “It is a bit bittersweet because it was a great location and I love it … We had such a great experience there, I have so many strong memories.

“But this is amazing. We’re moving into a space that’s bigger, better, [has] more air, more light, better accessibility throughout the building [and] the ability to hold more books.”

Onlookers watch as more books are placed atop the world record-setting tower of Guinness World Records books at the new Russell Books location Thursday evening. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

The book store has strong family ties for Minter, whose grandfather opened the first Russell Books in the ’60s. Minter’s mother painted a colourful mural near the escalators depicting the silhouette of a young girl reading against a tree. The girl is a representation of Minter’s daughters, who now help her run the store.

“If [my grandfather] were here today I’m sure he would be grinning from ear to ear,” she said.

The move is expected to be completed in the coming weeks, but for now, both locations are open for business, a decision pushed ahead in order to open the new store in time for Guinness World Record attempt.

READ ALSO: Victoria book store begins challenge of moving 500,000 books

The book stacking record is a new category, explained Guinness World Records adjudicator Phillip Robertson, but Russell Books must stack the books higher than six metres.

“They’ve got approximately a thousand books they are building into a stack now, once it reaches that six metres, it needs to stand for 10 seconds,” he explained. “If it collapses during that time the record will not stand.”

Robertson said one unforeseen challenge was that the Guinness books – which were donated by community members – were stored in varying conditions, some in dry places that cause pages to thin and crumble, and others in humid places that caused swelling.

“Every architect will tell you they don’t like the word variance, and there’s a lot of variance in books,” Robertson said. “I would encourage them to go as slow as they can.”

By 6:30 p.m. Russell Books had made history, sealing the deal with the tallest stack of Guinness World Records books in the Guinness Book of World Records.

READ ALSO: Victoria book store still collecting books from public as it aims for world record



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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