This is the first weekend without The Globe and Mail and I am missing it – especially the editorials and the crossword! I love the feel of a weekend newspaper in my hand and don’t enjoy the digital version. But, alas, Whistler is considered too rural to rate delivery anymore! In fact the entire Sea to Sky corridor is off their list. In the same vein I love to curl up in front of a real fire and read a real book – call me old fashioned but I know there are a lot of people like me, which started me thinking about how lucky we are in Whistler to have such a great literacy heritage.
Thanks to Hazel Evans we have “Armchair Books” which opened in 1981 and is still a family concern – Dan, her son, is in the driver’s seat now – and still an independent book store – a true rarity in this world of the big box book stores. Thanks Dan for doing all that you do to keep the shelves stacked and the store so interesting with so many diverse items to browse through. Armchair’s central location makes this a haven for anyone, local or visitor who needs a book fix! The employees who work with Dan are always willing to chat and offer their help and suggestions. The children’s section is a must, full of fun things to compliment the literacy experience! And if it’s not on the shelf it can always be ordered. www.whistlerbooks.com.
The Whistler Public Library (www.whistlerlibrary.ca) is another source of literacy in our town that has proved its worth again and again – such a vibrant, fun filled, space with everything you could wish for in “the Community’s Living Room” including a fireplace lounge where you can curl up with the latest newspaper, (not the Globe and Mail alas!) magazine or book – the collection is diverse and mutli national as well as having a large audio component offering a huge selection of music and video. The whole building is WIFI and there is a computer lab for those without their own devices – and true to the tenets of the Library Act of Canada, Library Services are free for those of us lucky enough to live in B.C. WPL is a warm friendly place and a fund of information offering myriad programs for all ages and a staff that always goes above and beyond.
Local author Stella Harvey has persevered with her dream and now the Whistler Readers and Writers Festival is a major event on the Canadian Literary calendar – this year it is being held from October 18-20 – with celebrated authors and personalities coming to town to read and discuss their books and hold workshops to encourage new writers and refresh others – check out the web site at www.whistlerreadersandwritersfestival.com.
The Whistler Writers Group is a healthy group of local would be authors and published authors (150 strong and growing) who all contribute to our literary experience – guide books, children’s books, fiction, nonfiction, short stories and histories of the area and people – you all know who you are and what you have contributed and will continue to do. The group is known as the “Vicious Circle” and can be checked out at www.viciouscircle.com
The Friends of the Whistler Public Library are holding their semi-annual Used Book Sale on Thanksgiving weekend in the usual place outside the IGA this Saturday, Oct 5th – Jane Reid, founder of the Friends, initiated this great community event which benefits both WPL and our school libraries. This year we will all be missing that ever present volunteer Lil Goldsmid with her red scarf and jaunty hat but I know she will be with us in spirit encouraging people to widen their literary horizons and donate to the cause.
Our three schools all have great collections in their libraries and work with the WPL to compliment the offerings and programs – I recently helped out with the Myrtle Philip Book Club program, a joint effort, and it was wonderful to see the love of books this encourages in our children at an early age.
All in all I think we are blessed in this relatively small community with a deep and rich literary heritage and I, for one, truly believe that the book will never die – I know that I will never stop borrowing and buying books and loving the fact that I can reach for a book on the shelves in my home to reread or to donate to the next used book sale to make room for a new one!
Thanks to all of you out there who make Whistler such a special place to live in – rich in so many ways to the benefit of our community and its many visitors.