St. Mary’s bookshop expands

Re-purposed oak pews accommodate more titles for the weekly Saturday morning book sale

From left

From left

The bookshop at St. Mary’s Anglican Church on Elgin Road in Oak Bay is expanding in a unique way.

Established in January 2015, Churchmouse Books receives pre-owned books from the community, sorts them and displays the best books.

The volumes bear no prices and are not for sale. Instead, customers choose books and leave a voluntary donation to assist St. Mary’s charities.

Nearly 2,000 books were re-cycled into the hands of new readers in 2015.

Looking ahead, organizaers have set the more ambitious target of 3,000 books for 2016.

“We’ll try to exceed that figure too,” says project co-ordinator Ann Harper.

When St. Mary’s recently removed several rows of its solid oak church pews, Henry Schaumburg transformed them into bookcases and the bookshop doubled in size. It now displays more than 3,000 pre-owned books.

“There is a need for good-quality books at affordable prices, in part to promote literacy. With books-by-donation, every individual can decide what’s affordable for a book,” Harper says.

“Most customers are generous in their cash donations, but still feel that they have received great bargains.”

Churchmouse receives its books by donation too, from all over Greater Victoria.

Funds raised help four local charities St. Mary’s supports: Our Place on Pandora Avenue, the Food Bank at St. John’s Church on Quadra Street, Margaret Laurence Transition House for women and children in crisis, and the B.C. Cancer Foundation.

Churchmouse Books, in St. Mary’s Church, 1701 Elgin Rd., is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Its annual Garage Sale and BookFest, co-hosted with the Canadian College of Performing Arts, also on site, is this Saturday, June 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.