The 250th Free Little Library was installed in Victoria on Aug. 6. (Photo courtesy Teale Phelps Bondaroff)

The 250th Free Little Library was installed in Victoria on Aug. 6. (Photo courtesy Teale Phelps Bondaroff)

250 and counting: Greater Victoria leads Canada in Little Free Libraries

Capital now has the highest density of mapped little libraries in the country

The 250th Little Free Library (LFL) has been built in Victoria at the corner of Prior Street and Topaz Avenue.

A family joined forces to create the new LFL and it opened for business on Aug. 6. It was installed by Ruth McAllister and painted by her daughter, Rosemary McAllister. The new orange box has four shelves for books and free dog poo bags.

“Little free libraries bring neighbours together and build community,” said Ruth. “Books belong to all and little free libraries are the best way to share the delight of reading.”

She also feels the LFL are important because they promote gift-giving and anti-capitalism.

LFL in the region operate with a “leave a book — take a book” motto and are free for anyone to use, explained Teale Phelps Bondaroff — who volunteers with the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network (GVPN) which manages the LFL. Phelps Bondaroff also leads the GVPN Pocket Places Project which recently topped up the LFL with the 11,323th book and helps install the tiny libraries all over the region.

RELATED: Little Free Pantries spring up to help tackle food insecurity in Canada

Someone donated almost 1,000 books after seeing a news article about the LFL hitting 10,000 books in July, said Phelps Bondaroff.

“I’ve described little free libraries as coral reefs for community,” he said. “It’s amazing the people you meet and the conversations you have when you visit a little free library.”

Phelps Bondaroff was recently dropping off books at a LFL in James Bay when he bumped into someone from Salt Spring. They ended up chatting for half an hour and sharing their favourite podcasts.

The LFL encourage imagination and spontaneity, he explained.

They also provide space for “whimsy in the urban landscape,” he said. Each LFL is unique and the people who run them put their personality into the construction and upkeep.

RELATED: Vancouver Island library system hits the midway point of $43 million improvement plan

Since the grand opening of the 250th LFL at the beginning of the month, five more have been installed in the region, said Phelps Bondaroff. Several residents were vying to install the 250th LFL so there was a burst of new libraries this month, he explained.

The 250th LFL solidifies Victoria’s rank as the city with the highest density of mapped LFL in the country.

A full map of LFL in Greater Victoria can be found at victoriaplacemaking.ca.


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