St. Mary’s Anglican Church Rev. Craig Hiebert, book-keeper and event organizer Kim Foster, and professional storyteller Anne Glover. Can you spot the dog? (Octavian Lacatusu/Oak Bay News)

Upcoming Summer Book Festival is a reader’s paradise

The event runs on July 15 and offers thousands of books, entertainment and more

The Summer Book Festival at the Churchmouse Bookshop is coming back to St. Mary’s Anglican Church, this time with more books and great mix of entertainment.

Running on July 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., this year’s festival offers a paradise for readers, with around 20,000 pristine-quality books spanning a wide range of topics and novels, including mysteries, classic literature, history, biography, nature, home and garden, food and cooking, great coffee table books, collectibles and children’s reading.

New this time ‘round though will be the performance of local musician Steph Khoury and professional story-teller Anne Glover, who will be using string and other visuals to tell a story.

In other words, the event will cover all senses, with sound, imagery, and good old fashioned reading from what is one of the best-preserved book collections in the Greater Victoria Region.

Churchmouse’s beginnings were more humble, when it began in January 2015 as a way to raise money for charities, support the local community and bring the people together. Since then, it has run big book sales four times a year.

“There wasn’t a used bookstore in Oak Bay at that point, and we had lots of space in our church, so we thought, why not try it out,” said St. Mary’s Church Rev. Craig Hiebert, adding the idea of the book store was to provide people with higher quality books, classic or up to date.

It grew quickly, spawning the festival and the monthly Coffee House even held on Wednesday evenings where people read poetry and stories, and listen to music.

“It’s an opportunity for people to come out and share the joy of reading a book with others in their community,” said book keeper and event organizer Kim Foster, who maintains the Churchmouse book store, which is open every Saturday.

As Foster pointed out, the books have no price, though they’re not entirely free either. Visitors pay what they can at their own discretion.

“People give what they want to give, and we find that they are extremely generous,” she said, adding last year the church book store was able to raise $10,000 that goes towards local charities, such as the St. John the Divine food bank, Our Place, Margaret Laurence House, and some funds have been earmarked this year for improving literacy in Victoria.

The festival also features a silent auction, including Churchmouse’s crème-de-la-crème books, which are plentiful.

“I was drawn to this because I live in the neighbourood and I was drawn to their bookstore and public outreach,” Glover said, who is participating for the first time in the book festival. She hopes to provide a not-seen-before visual aspect to it.

“It adds a visuals without a limited image, so not like watching a movie or a cartoon where the images are fully provided,” she said. “It’s multi-age, multi generational, and it incorporates the literacy component with the kinesthetic component.”

Among the activites, there are plans for a barbeque as well, weather permitting.

At the end of the day though, the idea is to have fun, read a book, and maybe even make a new friend.

“Just have a nice summer fest, enjoy the weather, enjoy company and enjoy the neighbourhood,” Hiebert said.

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