British Columbia

Little Free Libraries launch book bingo game across Victoria

Greater Victoria is home to over 467 miniature libraries and thanks to a new initiative readers can now play a game of bingo while searching for new books.

Organizers hope it encourages locals to get out and explore the community through reading

Greater Victoria Placemaking Network has launched a new book bingo game. (Submitted by GVPN/Teale Phelps Bondaroff)

Greater Victoria is home to more than 467 miniature libraries and, thanks to a new initiative, readers can now play a game of bingo while searching for new books.

Greater Victoria Placemaking Network, the group that started Little Free Libraries — a collection of take-a-book, leave-a-book stalls throughout the city — has now launched Little Free Library Bingo. 

In the new project, players are provided with bingo cards and encouraged to go for a stroll around Victoria and cross off squares from the books they find. 

"I hope this project encourages people to get out and explore their communities, experience the joy of finding something special in a little free library, and have fun," said Teale Phelps Bondaroff, a lead volunteer with the network. 

The project is the brainchild of John Threlfall, a local writer and arts advocate who has visited more than 250 local little libraries over the past year. He says he wants to inspire people to take up new activities like book bingo during the pandemic. 

There are two types of Little Free Library Bingo cards—one for a general audience and another just for kids. (Submitted by GVPN/Teale Phelps Bondaroff)

"It gets you out and walking through neighbourhoods, increasing literacy. You have a good time doing it," Threlfall told CBC's Gregor Craigie during On The Island.

He says that depending on the neighbourhood, people can visit several of the little libraries in a single walk or bike ride. 

Threlfall says he came up with the idea after he visited dozens of miniature libraries around Victoria and noticed more than a few of them had repeat books. 

Therelfall says it's a fun pandemic-friendly game that he wants people to enjoy not only now during COVID restrictions, but also long after. 

"In an era of lockdown, it's been a lifesaver for me to be able to say, OK, let's go for a walk tonight and hit six or seven libraries."

Players can choose from two options, one designed for adults and one for kids. The bingo cards can be found at any miniature library around Victoria or can be printed from the group's website.

With files from On The Island


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