Sidney residents beam as brand new small free library opens
Geri Holland was practically beaming as she clutched a copy of Melville’s Moby Dick to her gray winter coat. Minutes earlier, she was among the first to pick up a book from the new small free library which opened on November 2 on Sidney’s Third Street, a short walk from her Wakefield Manor flat.
“I love it, because I go to these (little libraries) all the time,” she said. Prior to the Nov. 2 opening, the nearest small library was across Beacon Avenue. Now she can indulge her reading habit by simply stepping down from her apartment. For Hollande, this closeness makes all the difference while recovering from what she describes as a bad fall.
Robert Duquette, who also lives in the same apartment as Holland and helped build the library as part of the team behind it, said the library will improve residents’ quality of life. “We have a lot of readers here and they’re going to love it,” he said. “It gives them the ability to grab a pound and return a pound.”
Just over half of the 24 people living in the apartment next door use a walker or wheelchair to get around, he said, pointing out that the local branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library does not is not easily accessible to residents. “It’s going to really, really come in handy.”
The recently opened small library joins three others (Central Saanich’s Pioneer Park, North Saanich’s Jubilee Park, and Cordova Bay Elementary School) that opened earlier in the area thanks to the Saanich Peninsula Literacy Society, and two more should open in the future.
The library will also create a sense of community, Duquette said, pointing to the bench next to the small library. The presence of the library will encourage even more people to stop and talk there, he said. “Any community project like this attracts people,” he said.
Shantael Sleight, outreach co-ordinator at the Saanich Peninsula Literacy Society, who launched the project with society board member Jennifer Van Es, said the new library will be linked to the map, which Greater Victoria Placemaking Network manages.
Sleight said the project not only aligns with the company’s mandate to make literacy accessible to all ages, but has also helped build partnerships with groups such as Beacon Community Services and the SHOAL Center for Seniors. , among others.
As such, it helped raise awareness of the importance of literacy, she said.
Slegg sites in Sidney and Central Saanich, Bay Street Castle Building Centre, Lowe’s (Langford), Home Hardware Sidney, Russell Nursery and Peninsula Landscape Supplies donated materials, while Duquette and fellow SHOAL Center volunteer Jim Wood, built the library themselves.
Individuals can donate books directly to individual free libraries or drop them off at the SHOAL Centre.
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