As the saying goes, “everything old is new again” – and we are hoping that the 2014 version of a 1914 milestone for our town will prove equally effective at strengthening community ties.
This year marks the 100th birthday of the Gibsons Public Library. In 1914, the Howe Sound Farmers’ Institute launched a local library service, receiving their first shipment of books from the Provincial Lending Service in a hinged wooden box. The box was located on Cannery Road, (now Henry Road), in the home of the first Librarian in the area, W.H. Paul, and over the years changed location a number of times, often moving among the houses of members of the Farmers’ Institute and Women’s Institute. Not until 1952 was an Associated Library formed, and over the next two decades community volunteerism and philanthropy allowed for the building and expansion of the library on various sites, until 1995 when sod was turned for the current library building, now home to more than 40,000 physical materials, nearly 65,000 digital materials, and 94,000 visits annually, with a circulation that has grown by 50 per cent since 1999. And to think – it all began with a simple wooden box full of books.
This year, a new iteration of that first ‘pop-up library’ has been built, and will soon be installed at Shaw Road and O’Shea in a gesture of partnership between the Town and the Gibsons Public Library. The Library will place some ‘seed books’ in the finely crafted cottage-style box, and the idea is for those who live nearby to take a book that appeals to them, and leave a book or two in its place for someone else to enjoy. Our hope is that avid readers living in various neighbourhoods will build and install their own libraries, working with the Library and the Town, creating a community gathering space, and building opportunities for engagement and belonging, while fostering a love of reading.
If you would like to be part of spreading this neighbourly movement across our town, please contact Town Hall @ 604-886-2274 to learn how you can become involved. And happy reading!