Teale Phelps Bondaroff donates a book to the Little Free Library in Saanich’s Rutledge Park. It was the 10,000th book to be donated to Little Free Libraries in Greater Victoria. (Photo courtesy of Teale Phelps Bondaroff)

10,000th book delivered to Little Free Libraries in Greater Victoria

There are now 243 Little Free Libraries in the Capital Regional District

You may have spotted one on your daily walk or while driving through your neighbourhood — little boxes and homes for books located in parks, businesses or at the ends of front yards.

These Little Free Libraries are dotted around Greater Victoria and have just received their 10,000th book donation earlier this month. They operate on the “leave a book, take a book” principle and are run by volunteers and businesses who maintain the little libraries and top them up when needed.

“It’s an amazing network of people who have built their own libraries around town,” said Teale Phelps Bondaroff, a volunteer and board member of the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network.

Phelps Bondaroff personally made the 10,000th donation to the Little Free Library located in Saanich’s Rutledge Park. He became involved with the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network — a local organization that maintains these libraries — after hearing about their 2015 project to map out the locations of the libraries.

READ ALSO: Little free libraries popping up in the West Shore

Using crowd-sourcing and social media, Phelps Bondaroff was able to map out 111 libraries in 2017. That number rose to 150 in time for Canada’s sesquicentennial.

The Greater Victoria Placemaking Network that has set up several Little Free Libraries through the Pocket Places Project. The project received a grant from the City of Victoria, which helped raise awareness about the libraries and allowed people to top them up with books as well as learn to make their own.

Phelps Bondaroff said many people recycle old newspaper boxes into the Little Free Libraries, making it easy for anyone to build one. The Greater Victoria Placemaking Network has thousands of books in storage that they pull out to top up libraries when needed. Phelps Bondaroff said he tries to top some up when he is running errands or out on his bike.

The 10,000th book donation was the aptly-titled science-fiction book, Meditations at 10,000 Feet by James Trefil. Getting to the 10,000th book involved 587 visits to individual libraries and over 630 volunteer hours.

For Phelps Bondaroff, the project is a way to build community.

READ ALSO: Victoria boasts highest density of little free libraries in Canada

“I meet and speak with the most interesting people whenever I visit the Little Free Libraries around town,” Phelps Bondaroff said. “Community and connections need space to flourish, and that’s what placemaking is all about.”

Some of the Little Free Libraries also have their own Twitter accounts and connect with other international ones online.

Phelps Bondaroff, who is a political scientist by trade, said he enjoys the whimsy that things like Little Free Libraries bring to communities. He notes that they can bring people together and bring joy to people’s lives.

“I feel like the hard edges of the city often need to be softened to make them more human and placemaking does that,” Phelps Bondaroff said.

There are now a total of 243 Little Free Libraries in the Capital Regional District, giving Greater Victoria the highest density of Little Free Libraries in Canada. The Greater Victoria Placemaking Network is encouraging the public to visit a Little Free Library near them, drop off some books they’ve read and find something new.

“The amount of placemaking being done in Victoria is inspiring,” Phelps Bondaroff said. “While we await the installation of the region’s 250th Little Free Library, it’s extraordinary to consider that the 150th was only installed in Dec. 2017.”

A map of Little Free Libraries in the CRD can be found here.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Population growth on West Shore strains wait lists for family services

Funding not keeping pace with demand at Pacific Family Services Association

West Shore RCMP arrest man accused in Port Renfrew theft, Duncan fraud

Man charged after $300 in fraudulent charges, two phones and wallet stolen

Monster Truck Chaos comes to Victoria, tickets on sale Friday

Monster Truck Chaos rumbles into Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre Jan. 25 and 26

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority’s second steel shipment arrives safely

The GVHA’s original shipment was lost at sea in December 2018

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

POLL: Do you support CUPE workers in their dispute with School District 63?

SD63 schools to remain closed as strike continues Tuesday

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

One dead after fiery crash in Duncan

A man has died after a fiery motor vehicle collision Monday night,… Continue reading

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

Most Read