A little free library with barren shelves after books were pulled due to COVID-19. (File Contributed/ victoriaplacemaking.ca)

Greater Victoria little free libraries pull the books due to COVID-19

Some community book exchanges opt to temporarily close to reduce risk of coronavirus exposure

At a time when more people than usual are probably at home reading, some little free libraries are pulling books off of the shelves due to COVID-19 concerns.

The community-run initiative sees residents build unique miniature libraries stationed along sidewalks, fence posts or even hanging from trees for community members to use as a book exchange.

There are more than 280 little free libraries scattered across Greater Victoria, with thousands of books usually available.

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

Some, however, are temporarily pulling the plug to limit the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

“We’re joining GVPL [Greater Victoria Public Library] and other little libraries, and closing due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Please don’t drop off any books until the infection risk has passed. Wash your hands, stay two metres from anyone you don’t live with. Stay safe,” reads a tweet from Bellevue Books, a little free library located near Bellevue and Cook streets.

Others have made a practise of doing extra sanitation of the handles and books in their collection.

Others still have considered stocking the shelves with canned food instead of books, as has been popular in the United States.

The little free libraries are often maintained by the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network (GVPN), which adds the libraries to a map, occasionally tops up books and offers advice and publicity for the box exchanges.

“As of last week, we have suspended any distribution of books to individual LFLs [little free libraries],” said Ray Straatsma, president, GVPN. “The libraries themselves are largely owned and operated by local residents and community-minded people.”

The GVPN further emphasizes that if people do leave their libraries open to be cautious of sanitizing them, and to still maintain good distance from other people, as advised by the Provincial Health Officer.

ALSO READ: 250th Free Little Library installed in Victoria

Teale Phelps Bondaroff is the Pocket Places Project Lead for the GVPN and acknowledged the struggles of the time.

“I’ve often described little free libraries as coral reefs for community because they help connect and bring people together. Unfortunately, at a time when everyone should be practising physical distancing, this is not a feature that we want to encourage,” Phelps Bondaroff said.

He added that as everyone in the community, LFL owners and users should check in with the BCCDC for the most updated tips on staying healthy.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

BooksCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

Greater Victoria thrift shop quietly closes two locations indefinitely

Society of St. Vincent de Paul shut down Sooke and Central Saanich storefronts

Sooke councillor pitches another way to improve transit

Coun. Jeff Bateman wants free passes for youth on local routes

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Greater Victoria

Thunderstorm may produce strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain, warns Environment Canada

Sooke couple that owned Sooke Harbour House given $4 million after lengthy court case

B.C. Supreme Court rules in favour of Frederique and Sinclair Philip

Local MP Elizabeth May likes aspects of throne speech, but questions execution

According to May nobody is as ‘reckless’ as BC’s John Horgan in dismissing snap election

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cops for Cancer: COVID-19 can’t stop Tour de Rock

‘having the chance to come back and ride this year means everything to me’

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

Horgan blasts B.C. Greens for refusing youth overdose detention

Lack of support key to B.C. election call, NDP leader says

Most Read