An example of a little free library
Some of you may know that in my professional life I am a digital marketing consultant. I had a lively conversation with a colleague last week about how social media is infiltrating our everyday lives and how connections between people are often being developed online via platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter well ahead of real world connections. While I have read many an article about how this is the downfall of modern society and certainly see the disconnect among youth who would prefer to text the person sitting next to them rather than engage in real conversation, I have a real appreciation for the value in the type of collaboration, idea sharing and reach that social media has on our daily lives.
Take for example a project that has developed in the Village of Anmore. A friend posted an article on Facebook about an organization in Wisconsin called Little Free Library that promotes community and literacy through encouraging neighbourhoods to set up their own book exchanges. The idea of a book exchange is not something new, but the concept of small outdoor library boxes that are sponsored by neighbours, neighbourhoods, and communities and then promoted online as part of a bigger movement is fascinating. It's this type of connection to a bigger whole that people crave when they engage online and here is a little non-profit in Wisconsin whose nearing 2000 little free library stops all over the world, all by making people feel like their little library is part of a much bigger movement.
Anmore has no library services and we rely on our local school, neighbouring municipal library services and bookstores when we want to get our hands on a book. Little Free Library is the perfect low cost, community supported idea that helps promote literacy within the framework of our small Village. To that end, I re-posted information about the Little Free Library concept to Facebook and asked for residents opinions on the idea. The amazing thing about social media, was that within a few hours I had all sorts of comments in support of the idea and offers to help build library boxes, to donate books and to set up a group to make this idea a reality in Anmore.
Via regular channels, this idea might have taken months to take hold or fizzled out all together, but online people have the ability to see visual examples of the idea through pictures and articles and exchange comments and ideas from their homes, their offices or even their smart phones.
The goal is to have our first Little Free Library up and running by the end of August and a total of 10 installed in the community over the next year. I hope this project will gain council support and momentum as people see the benefit to having this type of community book exchange in their neighbourhood.
If you'd like to participate in this project, or if you are interested in finding out more, please feel free to contact me (via email, or facebook of course) !
Congratulations to resident Micheline Berry of Anmore who recently placed first in the Vancouver Island Grass Court Championship. Micheline defeated Jean Martin of Shawnigan Lake 6-7, 6-1, 7-5 in the women's 60 singles.
Micheline is a regular visitor to the Village of Anmore's newly resurfaced tennis courts and has been an avid tennis player for man.
The Vancouver Island Grass Court Championship, held from July 22-28, attracted a huge number of competitors, with some hailing from beyond British Columbia and Washington state.
In September 2011, Micheline also had some success at the Canadian Senior National Championship. Micheline Berry and Eileen Clark teamed up to win the women’s 60 Doubles. Single’s results were also impressive with Eileen Clark a finalist in 65 Single’s & Micheline Berry taking 3rd place in the 60 Single’s.
Micheline is an avid tennis player and can often be seen with her husband Wayne and other tennis friends playing tennis at the Village courts behind Anmore Elementary School off of Elementary Road. The newly resurfaced courts are open to the public and are a fantastic place to get your game on!
Ravenswood connected to Anmore Elementary.
The BC government recently announced a $30 million Community Recreation Grant Program developed to addresss the unique challenges faced by communities in the Province with respect to meeting their recreational infrastructure needs.
The concept of the program is to invest in local government capital projects that make communities healthier, more active places in which to live. Grant programs like this are an important funding source that can assist our Village in improving our infrastructure and the overall livability of our community.
In Anmore, we have some amazing outdoor opportunities for recreation, but some of the infrastructure needed to enhance those opportunities or provide more universal access are just not there yet. After years of planning, we now have a tennis court located at Anmore Elementary School and have recently installed play equipment in our local Anmore Spirit Park. Both of these items are infrastructure improvements that benefit residents and encourage us to live healthier more active lives. We've also had community discussions about a proposed community hall, volleyball courts, and current and future joint use agreements between Anmore and School District 43. These are all projects that deserve consideration and discussion by our community and might be appropriate projects to seek grant funding for.
Another area that I think needs to be addressed is our community trail network. How easy it is to travel around a community, is an important factor to consider when discussing community livability... Most of Anmore's current pathways that stretch the length of Sunnyside and East Road were build through volunteer efforts and they have been a wonderful addition to our community. I would like to see more pathway projects like this in Anmore and community consultation on how we want our pathways and trail networks to develop over the coming years. In particular I think that our community should look at how we can link neighbourhoods through trail networks that encourage walking and cycling within our Village.
Whistler is a great example of how long term planning can help develop a successful trail network. Over 20 years ago a few volunteers started planning how they wanted Whistler connected and in 2011 you can take pedestrian and bike pathways throughout the entire valley area to almost every neighbourhood and recreational area in Whistler.
How can we apply this model to Anmore.. well we certainly won't have the tourism dollars to contribute to a trail network, but we definitely can apply the idea of long term planning. Anmore has clearly laid out their road networks in our Official Community Plan, but there is little mention of pathway planning. I would like our OCP to clearly outline how we want our current and future community linked for pedestrian and bike traffic within Anmore and to the surrounding communities. Trail networks and access to both bike and walking paths should be a part of our Official Community plan, just like roadway planning is included in any municipal OCP.
Outlining a pathways plan in our OCP based on community consultation and thorough input from residents will help us identify funding sources, guide development and provide our municipality with the tools to move forward with a long term plan.
What are your thoughts on pedestrian and bike pathways in Anmore?
**Above is a great example of a completed pathway that is wide enough to accomodate both walking and cycling traffic and links the Ravenswood Development to the Anmore Elementary School area, Friendly Forest Preschool and our Village tennis courts.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It's great to be out in the community, participating in some of the great events in and around Anmore and speaking to residents about what matters to them!