Little free libraries have become neighbourhood staples in the Capital Regional District over the past few years, and now the 650th has opened.
Teale Phelps Bondaroff, the project lead for the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network, said four years ago the group cut a ribbon on the 150th little free library.
“It’s really exciting to see how big the little free library project has gotten,” Phelps Bondaroff said in an interview with CHEK News. “When I started the project we had 111 little libraries, and our goal was to get to 150 for Canada’s 150th, and here we are, cutting the ribbon on the 650th little free library in the region.”
He says the community has embraced the concept of the little free library, and they’re now found across the region.
“People in Victoria love little free libraries, they love community building, they love placemaking,” Phelps Bondaroff said. “And these little libraries are so much more than books, they’re about connecting people, about community, and we have little libraries for things other than books.”
Across the region, Phelps Bondaroff says there are little libraries for poetry, children’s toys, seeds, plants, art supplies, yarn, puzzles and board games. He says the placemaking network didn’t set out to create these little libraries, but community members took it upon themselves to set them up.
“People in the region are just so creative they came up with other iterations,” Phelps Bondaroff said. “I think a lot of people are looking for other things to share with the community, books were one thing, it was a starting point.”
Liz Cronin, who opened the 650th library, called Garden View LFL, said she is excited to be opening the little free library in her neighbourhood.
“It represents the values that we’re trying to have presented in our community,” Cronin said. “I love that the books are free, I think it sends a good message that we believe that if we work together that we can have good things for free for people in the community.”
The library was made by Marthinus de Wet and inspired by his wife Lori de Wet’s love of reading.
The Greater Victoria Placemaking Network has a map of all the locations of the little free libraries, that can be found here.
-With files from CHEK’s Tess van Straaten