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This New West fibre art store has a free little library — 'No memberships required'

Here’s a library for all of New Westminster's knitting needs.
Have you checked out this community lending library at Baaad Rabbit Fibre Arts store in New West?

A one-year-old New Westminster fibre art store has been sewing up a thoughtful community project to spread some yarn love.

Inside Baaad Rabbit Fibre Arts is a small lending library with more than 250 journals and books.

These include instructions for fibre art beginners (learn to knit/crochet/weave/sew), techniques, pattern books and resource guides, said Paula Lindner, who co-owns the store along with Rebecca Glazier.

"There are some great idea banks for people looking from wanting to craft with kids to expert fibre artists interested in honing their crafts," she added.  

All the books are received as upcycled donations from Friends of Baaad Rabbit Fibre Arts; tens of new donations come in each month. 

They are sorted and catalogued by the store staff with an "old fashioned" paper/glue lending tag before being added to the inventory, said Lindner. 

The library is self-run "in a good-faith manner." 

A community lending library focused on fibre arts is a unique venture — "I don't know of another similar initiative elsewhere," said Lindner. 


Tracing the roots

So, what made the retail store start one?

Baaad Rabbit Fibre Arts is a sister store to Baaad Anna's Yarn Store, a Vancouver business (2667 E Hastings St.) — also owned by Linder — that has had a 14-year history of fibre arts community initiatives. 

"One of our retail store's mandates has always been accessibility and affordability, so both stores have a foundation in providing low-cost and free of charge fibre arts materials, classes and events," said Lindner. 

Which is why, besides running the free library, the New West store also offers free of charge stitch groups (weekly twice), a bi-annual yarn swap and affordable fibre arts classes including learning to knit, crochet, dye fabric and fibre and weaving, she added.

Meanwhile, yet another community fibre arts initiative that Linder kick-started in 2021 has also been flourishing in New West.

Called Free Little Fibre Libraries, the community-built nooks for fibre art materials — much like the free little libraries for books — have been helping more people get access to fibre art materials for free. Community members can directly donate their upcycled fibre art pieces to the libraries or go through the store. 

Just this year, two new free little fibre libraries popped up in New West — Yarn Barn on Henley Street and the Free Little Art Gallery on 815 Edinburgh St. 

While 12 such fibre art libraries are spread out in various neighbourhoods in the Lower Mainland, as for the one community lending library for books, it’s kept close to the New West store’s front doors, said Lindner.

"No membership required, as we want there to be as few roadblocks to accessing this resource as possible."

And the best part? No one gets shushed at this library.


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