Reading about the recent (July 2017) launch of Greater Victoria’s latest Little Free Library (see our Facebook post here), I was reminded of Sarah Rose Robert’s March 2015 post about the book exchange boxes popping up around town. It quickly became the site’s most popular post and was certainly instrumental in what has come to be a vibrant ongoing project at Greater Victoria Placemaking Network.
Since that initial post the number of LFLs in Victoria has grown by leaps and bounds. There apppeared to be about 20 on the map shown in 2015 – today we are at 130+ in the Greater Victoria area with an ambition to reach 150 for #Canada150. This has become much more than just a mapping exercise to the two energetic volunteers spearheading the effort. Teale Phelps Bondaroff (recently elected to the GVPN Board) and partner Stephanie Ferguson frequently visit LFLs by bike and stock them with fresh books and tidy and arrange their shelves. Their small apartment is still stuffed with hundreds of books that were donated to the project (1,500 in all) after the May 2017 Times-Colonist book sale ended.
GVPN is also now helping people source and set up boxes for free book exchanges or “little free libraries.” Our volunteers obtained a number of former newspaper sales boxes from the Times Colonist and is helping people repurpose them (with a shelf, paint job and signage) as neighbourhood book boxes.
As Teale stressed in his recent interview on new local podcast Monorail City (more about that in another post) the LFL ‘movement’ is all about community. To that end, Teale and Stephanie’s neighbourhood LFL has its own Twitter handle (@RutledgeParkLFL), 1600 followers and keeps up a lively repartee with humans and LFLs around the globe.
The latest LFL, at the corner of Collinson and Cook, is one built and painted by Central Middle School Students under the direction of teacher Gabe Levesque. It isn’t alone in its location but is situated in a ‘pocket place‘ with a bench and some greenery. The launch included donated books from Orca, lemonade, watermelon and even LFL-shaped cookies!
The GVPN is actively supporting groups of people who’d like to have such a ‘pocket place’ in their neighbourhood. If that’s you, get in touch on our site’s contact form . And if you’d like to let us know about a LFL that we might not have on the map go to our LFL page (the map is in the middle of the post and the form to notify us of a missing LFL is at the bottom).