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New Community Lending Libraries installed in Cheakamus Crossing

The new little libraries were handcrafted by Whistler local Raul Bautista to honour mountain heritage

Thanks to a grant from the Whistler Community Foundation's Neighbourhood Small Grants program, three new Community Lending Libraries have been installed at Whistler Housing Authority (WHA) rental properties over the last year.

The three little Lending Libraries were built by WHA Tenant Raul Bautista, who volunteered his time towards the project. Each of the three Lending Libraries are a unique design that was inspired by Whistler’s original cabins.

“Even though these days the old A-frames and cabins of the valley are disappearing, I wanted to honour that part of the Whistler mountain-culture heritage,” Bautista said in a release. 

“The cabins’ looks and cosy feeling amazes everyone, but also the concept of a project that is made for everyone to enjoy, not for profit, but to make the place where we live and play more enjoyable. I can be grateful to those who’ve put their effort in such an endeavour (trail builders and other volunteers as well),” said Bautista. 

Whistler Community Foundation's Neighbourhood Small Grants (NSG) program principles believe that "small is powerful" and informal group-led projects with budgets of $500 or below are granted to start and sustain local traditions, build a sense of place and community leadership, connect people, create new resources and have communities working towards common goals in their geographic area. 

WHA General Manager Marla Zucht became aware of the program when she and WCF CEO, Claire Mozes, were collaborating on a Whistler COVID-19 Recovery Working Group for the community. 

Zucht and Mozes' Working Group was looking to promote and support community initiatives that provide opportunities for inspiring social connectedness, support systems and a sense of belonging within the community while Whistlerites were wrestling with heightened isolation due to the pandemic. 

Mozes shared some ideas that had come out of the Neighbourhood Small Grants Program that had helped to create more connections and resilience within the community at the neighbourhood level. 

In hearing Mozes' stories of some of the initiatives that had been created, Zucht thought it could be great opportunity to engage and inspire the WHA’s tenants on ideas they might have to create more social connections and a stronger sense of belonging while still being socially distant within their housing complexes or neighbourhoods. 

One of the WHA’s tenants came up with the idea for the creation and installation of the Lending Libraries, where residents can share, exchange and connect over books in a safe and socially distanced context.

"NSG requires someone to step up and take the lead on an event or project that will strengthen their neighbourhood in some way. Congrats to Raul on building a lovely legacy for his neighbourhood with the uniquely crafted little libraries," Mozes said in the release. "It was so great to see that the WHA supported his ideas. These types of grassroots grants work best when everyone involved is prepared to say 'yes' as often as possible."