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)

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner’s report confirms cause of death of three men at Sooke River in 2020

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen drown while ‘puddle-jumping’ in pickup truck

The Pacheedaht First Nation is planning a $1-million expansion to its campground in Port Renfrew. (Pixabay photo)
Expanded camping announced for Pacheedaht Campground

$1-million project is part of the B.C. Rural Economic Recovery program

Victoria Royals dress for Pink in the Rink as they play the Kelowna Rockets 4–3 in a shootout on Feb. 22, 2020. (James Mackenzie/News Staff)
Victoria Royals netminder Adam Evanoff joins AHL’s Heat on amateur tryout

Evanoff has split his 101 WHL games between Victoria and Moose Jaw

Soloman and Zev Nagler enjoy time on the beach at Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park on a summer day. The Capital Regional District is in the process of determining whether to institute parking fees at this and eight other CRD parks. (Black Press Media file photo)
CRD parks committee rejects new Greater Victoria parking fees – again

More arguments against fee hikes, pay parking at nine parks, brought forward by committee members

(Black Press Media file photo)
Crash at Saanich, Victoria border results in non-life-threatening injuries

Cause remains under investigation, impairment not a factor, VicPD says

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Migrant farm workers transplant jalapeno sprouts from trucks into the tilted soil at a farm. (Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times)
‘They’re afraid’: Coalition sounds alarm over COVID vaccines for B.C.’s migrant workers

Though health ministry says anyone can get vaccinated, critics say barriers are keeping migrants from their dose

Nanaimo-raised singer Allison Crowe with director Zack Snyder on the set of ‘Man of Steel’ in 2011. Crowe performs a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the upcoming director’s cut of ‘Justice League.’ (Photo courtesy Clay Enos)
Island-raised musician records song for upcoming ‘Justice League’ film

Allison Crowe’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah closes out the movie

A 50-year-old man was stabbed in an altercation that started with a disagreement about physical distancing. (File photo)
Argument about physical distancing escalates to stabbing in Nanaimo

Victim, struck with coffee cup and then stabbed, suffers minor injuries; suspect arrested

A battery electric-hybrid ferry, pictured here, is expected to make its way to Vancouver Island in late 2021, says B.C. Ferries. (Submitted photo)
Hybrid ferry for Gabriola-Nanaimo route launches in shipyard in Europe

Two hybrid vessels to replace MV Quinsam by early 2022, says B.C. Ferries

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

The Port of Nanaimo has signed a 50-year-agreement with DP World around short-sea shipping operations at Duke Point Terminal. (News Bulletin file photo)
Lease ‘important first step’ in $105-million Nanaimo port expansion project

Port of Nanaimo and DP World sign 50-year shipping operations agreement for Duke Point

Most Read