Teale Phelps Bondaroff, Greater Victoria Placemaking Network board member and Little Free Library enthusiast, stops for a read at a favourite library on Richardson Street near Oak Bay. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

The race for Greater Victoria’s 150th little free library is on

Greater Victoria Placemaking Network maps the neighbourhood book boxes and hopes to hit 150 in 2017

Little libraries dot the landscape across the Capital Region and with a bit of a push and a little cash the hope is to hit 150.

The Greater Victoria Placemaking Network started mapping the popular neighbourhood book boxes a couple of years ago and near the 150 goal for Canada’s 150th anniversary.

“We’ve only got about two months to go … the race is on to see who builds the 150th then we’ll have a big party to celebrate place, community, literacy and little libraries,” said Teale Phelps Bondaroff, GVPN board member and a fan of the little libraries.

“They transform a neighborhood. They act like coral reefs for a community. In a sense, you have an opportunity to meet your neighbours, to have conversations with people about what they like to read and all sorts of different things like that.”

The GVPN received ‘My Great Neighbourhood Grant’ from the City of Victoria to promote the book boxes in Victoria.

“Our project is encouraging people to build more,” Phelps Bondaroff said. “We are running a workshop in early November … it’ll help you learn how to make your own.”

They can range from built from scratch to purchased online, or etched from existing infrastructure, such as the newspaper boxes GVPN repurposed around town. Little free libraries are added to (and removed from if decommissioned) the map

The mini lending libraries, also known as community book exchanges, pop-up libraries, or micro-libraries, operate on the principle of ‘leave a book – take a book,’. The GVPN set the goal of having 150 little free libraries in the CRD by the end of the year, as part of the celebration of Canada 150.

They’re added to the map by the public. New locations and images can be submitted through the website victoriaplacemaking.ca/projects/little-free-libraries/.

The concept of the little free library is part of a wider sharing economy trend, wherein items are shared or exchanged, rather than owned. Other lending libraries in Victoria include the Seed Library which is a partnership between the Greater Victoria Public Library and Lifecycles, and the Victoria Tool Library, which is currently seeking a location and hopes to begin lending out tools later this year, and Toy Lending Libraries, with one based out of the YMCA-YWCA of Greater Victoria, and the Vic West Toy Lending Library operating out of High Point Community Church.



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