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Central Park: Book exchanges eyed for Vancouver

Park board chair Sarah Blyth wants to create a community book exchange program in partnership with the school board and Vancouver Public Library.
book exchange
Park board chair Sarah Blyth wants to create book exchanges in partnership with the VSB and public library.

Park board chair Sarah Blyth wants to create a community book exchange program in partnership with the school board and Vancouver Public Library.

Blyth said she was inspired by a 4,000-kilometre road trip this past summer to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories.

“I saw all kinds of free community scenarios along the way including a free dump in Dawson City where there was a lot of sharing and recycling going on,” said Blyth. “I saw a lot of community spirit.”

Upon her return, Blyth took to social media asking if Vancouverites had any interest in a community book exchange project. In response, she heard from youth worker Paul Czene from John Oliver secondary who, coincidently, was working with students to build dozens of mini bookcases for children to take home filled with books as part of a literacy project.

“I asked if they’d be interested in a project like this and they said yes,” said Blyth, who also spoke with the VPL about how its mobile book exchanges work. She added the VPL also said it would be willing to donate books to help get the project off the ground.

Blyth suggested field houses or community centres would be ideal locations for book exchanges. She wants the park board to develop a mobile phone app through which book exchange users can post the titles and locations of their latest deposits. “Everyone likes the idea and I know it’s something the public can benefit from,” said Blyth, whose book exchange motion goes to the park board Oct. 7.

Cherry Grove Memorial

Thirty years ago AIDS Vancouver, now also known as Positive Living B.C., launched in response to the epidemic.

In honour of that milestone anniversary the group has created video vignettes available to watch on its website. One poignant video includes an interview with a man talking about a day in 1985 when a group of friends and family planted three cherry trees, in honour of loved ones who had died of AIDS, at the edge of Stanley Park in what today is Coal Harbour. As the epidemic began to take its toll, the small grove became the city’s first unofficial AIDS memorial and it grew to include nine cherry trees. Today, an official memorial on

Sunset Beach contains the names of 996 men, women and children from B.C. who have died of the disease.

To mark AIDS Vancouver’s 30th anniversary, Vision Vancouver park board commissioner Trevor Loke is bringing forward a motion to the board Oct. 7, asking that a permanent plaque or commemorative symbol be placed at Cherry Grove Memorial.

Watch the video at 3030.aidsvancouver.org/1985.

sthomas@vancourier.com

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