Little free libraries, such as the one on Theresa Sutton’s property in Metchosin, have popped up around the West Shore. (Kendra Wong/News Gazette staff)

Little free libraries, such as the one on Theresa Sutton’s property in Metchosin, have popped up around the West Shore. (Kendra Wong/News Gazette staff)

Little free libraries popping up in the West Shore

Little libraries help to build community

Theresa Sutton is used to people coming and going at the little box sitting at the end of her driveway in Metchosin.

Inside the red box are more than two dozen books, including fiction from authors such as Dan Brown, Danielle Steele and James Patterson. There’s even a cookbook and a yoga book.

The books are part of Sutton’s little free library, where book worms can browse the two leveled-box for their next read and also drop off old books for others to enjoy.

“It’s an opportunity for people to pick up a book, something different and interesting,” said Sutton, who is the steward of the library and helps keep it tidy and swaps out books when needed. “People come along and put what they like reading in there and you discover new authors and other people might discover what you like to read.”

RELATED: Greater Victoria opens its 150th little free library

Sutton, who has lived in Metchosin for the past nine years, initially came across little libraries while visiting Oak Bay two years ago.

From there, she looked up the Little Free Library Association, a non-profit organization that aims to inspire a love of reading and community building.

The association then sent her a box for the library (which she painted to match the theme of her home), as well as a few books to get it started. Since then, it’s grown. Sutton sees people go through the little library a couple of times a week. She’s even added a bench for people to sit on as well.

“People like coming and discovering it – putting books in and taking them out,” Sutton said. “Families come with kids when they’re on a walk … promoting literacy is a good thing. It’s a nice free thing to do.”

Locally, the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network logs little free libraries across the region. Thus far, 186 little libraries have been logged, including several throughout the West Shore in View Royal and Colwood, as well as a few in Langford.

Teale Phelps Bondaroff, Pocket Place Project lead and volunteer board member with the placemaking network, said more little libraries have been popping up on the West Shore recently.

RELATED: Victoria’s little free libraries get 5,000th book

“Little free libraries are increasing in popularity because they serve as coral reefs for community – they bring people together and create spaces where people can meet neighbours, find great books, have great conversations, and make friends,” said Phelps Bondaroff, noting he recently delivered the network’s 5,000th book.

“They are also spreading across the region thanks to the hard work of the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network’s Pocket Places Project.”

For more information about little free libraries throughout the Capital Region or to get your own box for free visit victoriaplacemaking.ca.

kendra.wong@goldstream gazette.com