The spark for Squamish’s newest independent bookstore was lit in 2020, when Little Bookshop owner Julie Wilkins and her husband Paul were looking for family friendly reading materials to help their two young daughters discuss big issues that were happening around them.
“During the pandemic I wanted to diversify our bookshelves for our children to experience stories they might not otherwise have easy access to,” Wilkins says.
“When we did that, a lot of our friends wanted to borrow our books as well.”
Inspired by the interest in their reading materials, Wilkins formed the Inclusive Culture Club, a community resource for fostering acceptance and showcasing diverse literary voices. People would borrow books from and return them to a lending library of over 200 books, and eventually, more and more readers expressed interest in buying their own copies of the books.
“I realized it was something we could offer our community,” Wilkins says.
Little Bookshop began selling books online in May 2021 with a mobile bookshop following in September. High demand and extreme weather conditions led to a holiday pop-up shop at 38041 2nd Ave., where they have stayed, opening their official storefront in March.
“The community response has been amazing. It’s such a joyful place to be every day,” Wilkins says.
“We’ve tried to create welcoming spaces where people can see themselves, their peers and others represented in the books we offer.”
While the Little Bookshop’s mobile shop was initially aimed at children, the storefront and online shop have expanded their offerings to include books for all ages, mainly featuring adult titles by new and notable Canadian authors. Wilkins is also proud to offer a variety of special events including mobile book fairs and in-store workshops for adults and children alike, and has a goal of supporting and celebrating existing and upcoming Sea-to-Sky authors and artists.
The most pleasant surprise for Wilkins has been how many teenagers she has seen enjoying the bookshop.
“There are a lot of teens in this town who have a passion for books who have found a welcoming space to hang out,” Wilkins says.
“We’re so excited to encourage people of all ages to imagine, explore and maybe even expand their minds through books.”
To learn more and visit the Little Bookshop online, visit littlebookshop.ca.