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Bookworms will be delighted by the selection of libraries in Victoria— and although the ones I’m talking about may be small, they bring a lot to the table.
Free Little Libraries are popping up all the time in neighbourhoods across Greater Victoria, making reading accessible and strengthening a feeling of community in our city.
Teale Phelps Bondaroff is the lead on the Pocket Places Project, which promotes, maps, stocks and builds the libraries in the region.
“Placemaking is about transforming our urban environment and softening the hard edges of the city,” he explains.
“It’s citizens taking an active role in shaping the urban landscape. It’s creating spaces for people to meet and interact… What you’ll see is that someone will build a little free library, then someone will put a bench next to it, then there might be a ‘fairy door’, then a seed library, and then another neighbour builds a library…there’s even a tree in James Bay that’s covered in tea cups.”
“All it takes is one person bringing beauty into the world. Other people are inspired by it, and community forms,” he adds.
The libraries aren’t just aesthetically pleasing—they are often the centre of small, feel-good moments.
One creator of a little library told Phelps Bondaroff that they have seen joggers visit, pick out a book and hide it in the bushes to retrieve on their way home.
“Those kinds of stories just fill me with delight,” he says.
He agrees that choosing favourites is next to impossible, as each little book nook has its own character and whimsy. Some of them have built-in lights so that visitors can browse after dark, and some are perfect replicas of the heritage homes they stand in front of.
And if you're frustrated at the thought of the same books popping up again and again, don't despair. Victoria Place Making has Little Free Library bingo that allows you to check off common finds, like any book by Danielle Steele.
So get out there and refresh your bookshelf. Just remember—take a book, leave a book.
Do you have a favourite Free Little Library? Send your photos to [email protected]