Whistler donates generously to Bella Bella book call 

Hundreds of donations come in to help burned library restock

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The call for books to restock the burned-out library in the remote coastal town of Bella Bella has resulted in "hundreds and hundreds" of donations from Whistlerites.

The request has been so successful that businessman Bob Adams said the call for books will close on Aug. 18.

Arsonists set a fire that destroyed the building housing Bella Bella's library, café and grocery store on July 12. The community is located in the Great Bear Rainforest on the central B.C. coast.

Adams, who co-owns The Grocery Store in Whistler Village and is president of Bevendale Enterprises Inc., said he lost track of how many books they collected but said it was overwhelming.

"The response has been tremendous. I looked inside one of our store's smaller vans and it was totally full of books. Chock-a-block full," he said.

"I was a bit surprised. I really didn't know how it would go over once I started talking to people in the community."

The books are being sent to Buy-Low Foods' warehouse in Vancouver before being sent up to Bella Bella by barge.

Bella Bella's librarian Jess Housty said news of the books raised in Whistler was "fantastic" with donations just starting to trickle in.

"It has definitely been a difficult month since the fire... what we are doing right now is gathering and storing books until we have a new facility," Housty said.

Britco Structures in Langley has donated a trailer to house the books and is currently installing shelving in it, she said. The Sunset Rotary Club in Richmond has covered the cost of retrofitting the trailer.

Housty said they expect the trailer to arrive in Bella Bella in early September.

"The library has been a well-used collection here over the last six or seven years. It definitely took time to build a library culture here, we never had an all-ages library before, but we had a lot of dedicated users and so a lot are excited to be watching the rebuilding," she said.

"And they're really touched by all of the friends we didn't know we had who have been reaching out to help us bring it back to life."

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