Always wanted to try your hand at beekeeping? This library in Metro Vancouver is trading books for bees – and yes, you read that right! Every spring, the West Vancouver Memorial Library offers library-goers the opportunity to participate in its annual bee lending program, which each of them to borrow a mason bee “starter home” with 10 to 15 bee cocoons from the Library’s bee hotel.

Perfect for those with a garden, small backyard, or low-rise apartment patio, the program is now in its third year, reaching 86 mason bee enthusiasts in Metro Vancouver.

According to the library, mason bees don’t sting – so you won’t have to worry about upsetting your new colony as you start your beekeeping journey.

About the program

The program is led by the library’s Arts & Special Events Programmer, Taren Urquhart, who has nurtured a passion and expertise for bees for over 25 years.

“What started as an educational project has evolved into a groundbreaking lending program that isn’t part of the catalogue of any major British Columbia library, to my knowledge,” says Urquhart. “Part of the program’s success is the required education workshop that runs every February, where people learn how to care for their colonies, which also gives people a chance to learn from one another and build a sense of community.”

Recent Posts:
A new block party celebrating Filipino culture & heritage is coming to Vancouver
12 stunning road trip destinations to check out in BC this spring

mason bee lending program west vancouver memorial library
Photo via Shutterstock

According to Urquhart, mason bees are “exceptional pollinators” that contribute greatly to local plant life. By lending them out, the program is not just creating hobbyist beekeepers, but “nurturing a network of environmental stewards.”

The bee lending program has also led to collaboration with the West Vancouver Seniors’ Activity Centre, which has a Woodwork Shop for participants to craft larger bee colonies, such as the one now found at the Capilano View Cemetery.

Participants of the Library program can purchase these larger bee homes should they wish to expand their growing colonies.

Interested in picking up your very own pollinator? Stay tuned for more info about next year’s bee lending workshop, including an official registration date.

West Vancouver Memorial Library

Where: 1950 Marine Drive, West Vancouver