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B.C. park gets remarkable 50th Little Free Library built by music professor

Bruce More just wanted to brighten up communities

Tanara Oliveira/News Staff

In a heartwarming celebration of community literacy, Bruce More, a retired music professor from the University of Victoria, reached a remarkable milestone – his 50th Little Free Library installation.

Now the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network is applauding More’s dedication to this noble cause, further enriching the city’s cultural landscape.

More said he started with an LFL for his home’s driveway, then he met Saanich Coun. Teale Phelps Bondaroff, a champion of the libraries.

“A newfound interest in carpentry combined with a lifelong interest in garage sales led me to expand my workshop and assemble recycled materials for my new ‘passion,’” More said.

Located at 731 Macan Pl. in Colwood, More’s 50th LFL now graces the neighbourhood, thanks to the stewardship of Evamarie Nikelski and Chris Weicker. Since March 2021, More has been crafting these delightful public book boxes.

“I cannot say enough about Bruce’s kindness and generosity. I wanted to contribute to our community by having a free library. We were able to get two libraries, but I wanted more in order to offer more choice to the visitors,” said Nikelski. “Imagine my amazement that there was a gentleman who not only made little libraries but also delivered them. Bruce makes creative use of recycled materials. We tried to pay him for his time and materials, but he would not accept a cent. I am humbled by this man’s generosity. He teaches others how to give to the community by his quiet and unassuming actions. Bruce is a gentleman in the most awesome of ways.”

Little Free Libraries embody the “leave a book, take a book” ethos, fostering a sense of literary camaraderie. These charming boxes can be found throughout the Capital Regional District, each with its special personality. While most cater to general book-sharing, some specialize in specific genres like poetry, children’s literature or French texts. Moreover, LFLs have diversified their offerings, branching into plants, seeds, toys, household items, board games, puzzles, art supplies, food, and more, all for the benefit of the community.

The Greater Victoria Placemaking Network oversees the Pocket Places Project, a dynamic initiative mapping, promoting, stocking, and assisting in the construction of LFLs across the CRD. As of now, the project has been instrumental in setting up over 120 LFLs and distributing a staggering 85,000 books to these community treasures, with most book deliveries conducted by bicycle.

“When I first got involved in mapping little free libraries in the region, there were 111, there are now over 786,” said Phelps Bondaroff, who has volunteered as the lead of the Pocket Places Project for the past seven years. “One of the challenges with the project is that the people who would like to set up and host a little free library, and the people who know how to build a little free library, are often not the same people. In this way, Bruce has been a massive help to people who would love to bring a little free library to their community but have no idea where to start when it comes to building one.”

Bruce More’s 50th LFL joins a quartet known as the Colwood Creek Park Libraries. These vibrant items are adorning a park fence along one of the park’s scenic trails. Each one caters to a specific genre: fiction (green), children’s books (red), non-fiction (blue), and board games, puzzles, and more (yellow, housing More’s 50th creation).

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