Many people associate Old Barn Books in Metchosin with the weekly farmer’s market that graces the municipal grounds every Sunday between May and October.
While the two work well together and no doubt attract patrons for each other, the bookstore continues Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. throughout the year as a fundraiser for the Metchosin Museum Society’s exhibits.
Longtime Metchosin resident and current society president, Larry Tremblay, faithfully opens up the bookstore – it’s located on one end of the society-run Pioneer Museum – where readers stop in weekly to pick out everything from relatively new releases to well-worn classic novels.
And at $1 for paperbacks and $2 for hardcovers, it’s not difficult to find a bargain here.
One might think it would be hard to raise much cash with such reasonable prices, but as Tremblay notes, “We usually raise between $6,000 and $7,000 a year toward materials.”
While the Pioneer Museum is only open now for arranged visits, the bookstore remains open. Key to the fundraising is the fact all the books are donated by community members. Most bring a bagful in every so often, but there’s also a bin available outside for book donations when the bookstore is closed. Also, society members will do home pickups if required, Tremblay says.
One such situation saw volunteers connect with a person whose mother, a Fairfield resident in Victoria, had passed away.
“She left us 3,000 books as part of her estate,” Tremblay says. “The books were lining the walls around her home.”
While the volumes in the bookstore are for the most part not historical in nature, the museum does have some ancient texts in its possession, he says.
“We’ve got a 1600s-era bible and a lot of 1800s books,” he says, adding that the goal is to build a display case for those sometime this winter.
Another project the society is working on is the recreation of a 1850s-era bathroom in the Pioneer Museum. Many donated artifact toiletries from the pioneer Field family farm are already on display, but the goal is to exhibit them in a room patterned after the original, Tremblay says.
As well as the Pioneer Museum in the former barn, the society operates the Metchosin School Museum in the 1872 building just up and across Happy Valley Road from the fire hall. For more information, visit metchosinmuseum.ca.
To arrange for the pickup of books or to make a financial contribution to the society, call 250-478-8543. “We rely on donations to keep us going,” Tremblay says.