Community Bookcases were first developed in Germany in the 1990’s. In 2002 a female interior designer won the Bonn community Foundation award for her bookcase design and contribution to community, and since then they have really taken off with some incredible and fun designs! In the United States, an organization started in 2010, which promotes “Little Free Libraries”. They estimate there are over 25,000 little bookcases around the world in 56 countries.
Nanaimo’s first bookcase appeared on Irwin Street in the South End as part of their initiative to take back their community in 2008, and it worked!
The first on in NOCA’s neighbourhood was in the back alley between Pine and Machleary close to Bowen Park and that was built in 2011. It’s taken care of by about eight households. However lots of people from the surrounding neighbourhood contribute too. The yoga studio’s bookcase on Machleary opposite the baseball park was built very shortly afterwards and is used by everyone attending Kelly’s classes. And the grand bookcase (which used to be a rifle cabinet) on Campbell right near Pine was the last addition and it is well used as it is in a very prominent spot. Over the years they have added a bench, lovely little painted birdhouses and a smaller bookcase, which is used these days for food and toiletries for folks in need. Brechin Hill Community Association also built their Book Nook in 2013.