The Qualicum Beach Museum is sharing some of the history of reading in the area and the talent of local writers with a new exhibit, open June 8-Sept. 29.
The summer exhibit, located on the museum’s second floor, gives some history on two bastions of the written word from the area — the Qualicum Beach Library and the Mulberry Bush bookstore — as well as four local authors with recently published books.
Those are: Ralph Martin with Cross Canada Adventures, Carollyne Haynes with A Matter of Issue, Dan Lundine with My Mother Married My Boyfriend, and Elinor Florence with Wildwood.
In addition to featuring each author on individual info posters with their bio and their book, the QB Reads exhibit offers locals and tourists a chance to meet one or all the authors and learn about their work on four author nights.
All taking place at 7 p.m. and all free (though the museum advises calling ahead to reserve seats), Martin’s night in June 28, Lundine’s is on July 26, Florence’s on Aug. 23 and Haynes’ on Sept. 27.
“This is great. I’m quite excited about the whole thing,” said Martin at the opening night of the exhibit on June 7.
“I tell my friends I’m old enough now to be in the museum,” he said with a laugh, adding that he was excited to be contacted by the museum to be part of the exhibit.
“It’s good for the soul when people say, ‘We’re excited about what you’re doing.'”
The museum’s manager, Netanja Waddell, said the idea for the exhibit came from a trip she took to Croatia. At the opening of the exhibit, she described finding a library with books hanging from the ceiling.
“I thought it was kind of magical,” she said, adding that she then worked with the museum to come up with an idea incorporating that kind of installation.
She said the historical information about the library and the bookstore show how important reading has been doing residents over many years.
The library, for instance, was founded in 1937, and began as “a few shelves in a shop devoted to leather craft and dressmaking,” according to an info poster in the exhibit. It later moved to the cold storage locker of a grocery store, which earned it the name “The Deep Freeze.”
Mulberry Bush bookstore first opened in 1975, with current owners Barb and Tom Pope being the longest owners of the bookstore, starting in 1989.
Despite big box bookstores, the internet and e-books, and despite the inhospitable first few locations of the library, these institutions of reading continue on, and are featured at the museum as examples of how important reading is to Qualicum Beach.
For more info, go to www.qbmuseum.ca.